Anroux Marais MPP
DA Western Cape Spokesperson for Health in the Western Cape Provincial Parliament
At least eight incidents of violence or threats against Metro Emergency Medical Services (EMS) personnel have occurred since the beginning of this year. As spokesperson for the DA on Health in the Western Cape, I am disheartened by the fact that our EMS staff, who render invaluable lifesaving services, are being threatened and attacked. This is cause for serious concern.
Last year, there were 52 violent incidents, not resulting in injury to staff but included verbal abuse. As at 28 May 2012, there were eight reported assaults for this year alone. It was unsettling to learn that a city paramedic’s life was threatened at gunpoint, while attending to a person who was shot in Lavender Hill. I commend our EMS staff for working under such immense pressure and under extreme circumstances.
I will be sending an urgent request to the Western Cape Department of Health as well as to the Department of Community Safety to appear before the Standing Committee of Health to discuss the severity of this issue. This discussion will create a space in which we could consider ways in which to engage with the communities to address these life threatening incidents, not only for the EMS officials but for the public as well.
Communities should realise that EMS officials save lives and that attacking the very team who provides an essential out-of-hospital service for the well-being of the public is unacceptable. The DA will continue to raise this issue to ensure the safety of all public servants who dedicate their lives to render a lifesaving service to the public.