Ill Gogo joins in march

2017-03-16 06:03

The Gogo who was being attended to by paramedics when they were robbed at gunpoint on December 27, 2016 joined the march opposing bail for the two suspects when they appeared in court on Friday.

Gogo Zoleka Sipunzi,61, was being helped by the medics at her Mandela Park home when the culprits pounced with guns drawn and deprived them of their belongings.

“I’m here to show my support,” said the Gogo.

The two suspects appeared for a bail application at the Khayelitsha Magistrates Court, where their hearing was postponed to Monday March 13, although it was again postponed to March 24.

Sipunzi said she was still traumatised by the incident.

“I have anger towards the perpetrators and I want them to be punished severely. What if I (had)died during the robbery... I am still traumatised, and I know the paramedics are still traumatized too.”

Dr Nomafrench Mbombo, the MEC for Health, led a protest outside court in support of the EMS staff members, in a bid to oppose bail for the offenders.

The protest was joined by members of the community, the Khayelitsha Health Forum, religious clergy, councillors, the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) and Social Justice Coalition (SJC).

The organisations also signed a petition requesting that the court hand the accused harsh sentences, should they be found guilty.

Mbombo said the attack on the ambulance crew badly affected service delivery in the province.

“An attack on public servants is an attack on government, an attack on professionals is an attack on the public itself and an attack to EMS staff is actually an attack on the constitution itself. Enough is enough. We will do as much as we can in order to stop this,” Mbombo said.

She said the attacks instil fear on the EMS staff which badly affects their work. The department of health has come up with measures to curb the attacks such as introducing situational awareness training, which includes anti-hijacking training for all staff and also targeted at training around hotspots and incident management.

They have established greater collaboration with SAPS and the Community Police Forums. Paramedics cannot attend to a call in an area deemed a Red-Zone, they must get an escort from the SAPS.

They have introduced tinted smash and grab safety film on windows of ambulances including patient compartment and retro fit.

And they check the tracker to see the location of Ambulance crew on regular basis.

Pumzile Papu, EMS manager, urged residents to come on board to fight the attacks on EMS crew.

“It is a very scary situation to leave home for work and not knowing if you will come back. We are vulnerable. It is the responsibility of community as well to ensure the safety of our staff,” Papu said.

He also said they have lost over 380 days of work for staff who had to be put on leave after they were attacked last year alone.

Papu said it also takes longer for an ambulance to get to where it is called as it has to wait for a police escort.

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