Sick man left to die at Northdale centre

2010-04-26 00:00

A SICK man was left to die on the pavement outside Shakiles Centre in Northdale on Saturday morning.

According to tenants of the centre, who did not want to be named, the man — who appeared to be homeless — was lying on the pavement from around 8 am.

“He was in a really bad shape and we contacted the police just after 8.30 am,” said a tenant. “They told us he was probably just a drunk man, but said they would send someone.”

According to the tenant, at 9.10am no police officer had arrived at the scene, and concerned retailers from the centre called Emergency Services. “We were promised an ambulance would be sent,” said the tenant.

People at the scene said an ambulance arrived after 11.30 am and pronounced the man dead.

“Even Northdale Hospital, which is right across the road, refused to help us,” one tenant said. “When I spoke to someone at the hospital, I was told Northdale wasn’t in charge of sending out ambulances and we would have to call one ourselves.”

When the tenants called Emergency Services to complain about the huge delay which — they believe — cost the man his life, they were told no calls had been logged.

An Emergency Services employee told The Witness yesterday the only call received was from the SA Police force at 11.38 am.

“That is simply not true: we made calls as early as 8.30 am and our phone records will prove that,” one tenant said.

Spokespersons for the police confirmed the incident was reported at 10.24 am, and that a police officer was at the scene at 10.33.

“It is possible that whoever went there called emergency services at 11.38, but we do not have many details at this stage,” said a contact at the SAPF.

An irate tenant said the police’s account of the events “does not add up”.

“The man could have been saved if someone, anyone, had just responded to our calls,” she said. “We did not have a vehicle to take the man to the hospital, but the mere fact that there were doctors and nurses right across the road who could have saved him is the saddest part of all.”

Colonel Jay Naicker of the SAPF said the incident will be investigated.

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