7 February 2017
A total of 232 attacks on Emergency Medical Services (EMS) staff has been reported between 2012 and 2016. This was revealed in a briefing by the Western Cape Health Department in the Provincial Parliament today.
Most of the incidents takes place over weekends at night and range from attempted hijacking, physical assault, stoning of ambulances and a host of other issues.
The Department also revealed that alcohol and drugs played major role in the attacks, especially in townships such as Nyanga, Philippi, and Khayelitsha where most of the incidents are taking place. As chairperson of the Health Committee I consider this to be tragic and want the attacks to immediately end, because these are areas where the EMS staff are needed the most.
In red zones, where attacks are most likely to take place, EMS staff are only permitted to enter the areas under a police escort. This is leading to EMS vehicles being forced to wait at police stations instead of attending to patients.
Red zones include the following areas:• Phillipi,
• New Cross Roads
• Site C
• Mandela Park
• Hanover Park
The DA-led Western Cape is committed to providing quality healthcare to residents, but the continued attacks and vandalism seriously hinders the Government’s ability to do so. As communities we need to do more to keep EMS staff safe.