This week saw another emergency services attack, this time due to a fake emergency call.
On Wednesday, a call from NY147 in Gugulethu was logged for a patient who was coughing and vomiting. As the area was declared a red zone (an area too dangerous for EMS vehicles) by the Western Cape health department, a police escort accompanied the ambulance. They were then ambushed, and a man was killed in the cross fire.
Provincial Head of Emergency Medical Services, Doctor Shaheem De Vries says that these attacks on emergency services workers are the most pressing issue they face. today. He adds that this doesn't only affect them. It affects fire services, traffic services, and the police.
"Here is an attack on a SAPS official. This fundamentally threatens my organisation ability to render a service, because my staff are now questioning whether going in with a police escort makes a difference."— Shaheem De Vries, Provincial Head of Emergency Medical Services
De Vries add that these attacks also effect the time of their response and deployment to other safer areas as their resources are used up for a longer period of time in red zones. He says this created a magnified impact.
As to the amount of red zones, De Vries says there are too many.
"Generally speaking, the attacks are bestowed in threatening behaviour are opportunistic, and these can occur anywhere."— Shaheem De Vries, Provincial Head of Emergency Medical Services
Listen to the full interview below: