Roodepoort paramedics are refusing to service Durban Deep in Johannesburg after two female paramedics were attacked at the weekend, Gauteng Health Minister Qedani Mahlangu said on Monday.
“The provincial emergency medical services had to take over the running of ambulances around the area where the incident took place, because paramedics at Roodepoort were refusing to service the area,” she said in a statement.
Mahlangu strongly condemned the attack on Friday night when two female paramedics were attending to a toddler who had suffered burn wounds.
Police reported that three men approached them and forced the women into the bushes, raped one and attempted to rape the other.
“Now, paramedics will have to wait for police escort before responding to an emergency. This will not only delay the ambulance response time but will lead to many people losing their lives, “Mahlangu said.
She appealed to the public to “desist from attacking medical personnel and their vehicles, as well as making prank calls, as this hampers the much needed emergency services.”
Senior Superintendent Noxolo Kweza told the Star newspaper in a report published on Monday that the two women were called out to Durban Deep on Friday night after receiving a call from a desperate mother that her two-year-old son had been burnt.
The two paramedics drove to a pick-up point along Main Reef road where residents are often asked to bring their patients.
The mother, her son and two men, who are family friends, waited for the paramedics there. At one stage, the mother returned home to get a jersey for her son.
“While they [the paramedics] were busy with the child in the ambulance, three armed men appeared from the bushes, threatened the two men and told them to run away, otherwise they were going to shoot them.
“The two men ran down the road and the suspects took the women into the bushes. They raped one woman and attempted to rape the other one.”
The two men, who ran away, alerted the police and accompanied them to the scene to search for the women.
The assailants fled when the police arrived on the scene.
Beeld newspaper reported the three men fled in the ambulance, which was later found abandoned in the area.
Both women were admitted to the Life Flora Clinic.
The boy was not injured in the attack and was admitted to hospital for treatment of his burns. — Sapa