Support for stabbed man

2016-09-28 09:41
ER24 paramedics gather outside the magistrates’ court in support of their colleague who was assaulted and stabbed.

ER24 paramedics gather outside the magistrates’ court in support of their colleague who was assaulted and stabbed. (Supplied)

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Paramedics crowded the public gallery in the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday in support of their colleague, Lungelo Ntombela, who was assaulted and stabbed at an accident scene at the weekend.

The paramedics waited at the courthouse from early Tuesday morning to attend the court appearance of four men charged in connection with the incident.

The men eventually appeared briefly before magistrate Paul van Dongen, who was told that the state was opposed to bail being granted at this stage as the police have yet to verify their addresses and “profiles”.

This involves establishing if they have previous convictions for similar offences.

The four men — Ivan Francis (54), Omega Nzimande (25), Shayden Francis (19) and Rakesh Sadheu (41) of Northdale — were represented by attorney Reshen Pillay, who told the magistrate the defence had agreed to the case being adjourned until October 5 for a bail application.

He said he wanted to put on record that the men need medical treatment “because they say they were assaulted when this incident took place”.

Pillay said he had raised the matter with the investigating officer.

He did not give details of how the men were assaulted.

The men were remanded in custody until next Wednesday.

They have not yet been asked to plead to the charge of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm.

The charge sheet alleges Ntombela was “stabbed with knives and hit with a baseball bat and clenched fists”.

Outside court yesterday, Ntombela sported stitches on his cheek and on the inside of his right hand as a result of being stabbed. He said he felt “lucky” not to have suffered more serious injuries as a result of the fracas.

Ntombela said he would return to work when the injury to his hand had healed. He said he was especially grateful for the support he had received from his colleagues.

Some ER24 paramedics at court told The Witness the incident has made them feel vulnerable. “While we are trying to save lives, we come under attack. It’s ridiculous,” said one.

A paramedic said she was aware that some of her colleagues own “stab proof” vests and said it was something to consider getting in future.

Paramedics said they are not allowed to carry weapons, although they do have pepper spray they can use to defend themselves.

“The problem is we don’t expect someone to attack us when we are attending to patients, and so we don’t carry it all the time.”

The Witness reported on Monday that three paramedics were attacked during Saturday’s incident, which occurred after ER24 paramedics stopped when they came across a collision between two vehicles. At the time the ambulance was transporting two other patients to hospital.

The occupants of one of the vehicles, one of whom wore a knuckle duster on his hand, allegedly started to assault the paramedics.

Ntombela said he was stabbed in the face and cut his hand while trying to disarm his assailant of the knife.

• The driver of the vehicle from which the alleged attackers emerged, Ronaldo Francis, has been charged separately with driving under the influence of alcohol. He is on bail and was seen at the trial of the four accused yesterday.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  paramedic attacks

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