‘My boyfriend was drinking; he asked for it’

2011-12-17 13:23

It’s the same situation every year, says Malebo Mabalane, the on-duty paramedic at the Turffontein Fire Station in Johannesburg.

“Most call-outs we receive – especially this weekend – will be for people who have been assaulted at parties or drinking places,” he says.

“Already on Tuesday we had seven incidents for the night and three of them were alcohol-related assaults.”

It’s after 8pm on Wednesday and Mabalane – a paramedic for 12 years – and his colleagues are waiting patiently for accident and crime scene call-outs.

Shortly after 9pm he attends to an incident in Kliptown, an area notorious for alcohol-related assaults. A man is badly beaten and has sustained head injuries.

When Mabalane’s bakkie reaches the dark streets of this Soweto township, the 17-year-old girl who called for the ambulance explains that her mother’s boyfriend had been assaulted by his friend at a local shebeen.

We find the 28-year-old man lying on a bed in his RDP house.

His face is swollen and clothes are covered in blood.

Next to him is Fikile Madela (42), the 17-year-old’s mother, who had been drinking with him since 9am.

Madela explains to Mabalane how her boyfriend brought this on himself.

“We were drinking and having fun as usual when he got jealous because his friend wanted to buy me a beer.

“He accused us of having an affair and started fighting with him.”

The 28-year-old is assessed and rushed to the nearby Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital.

Says Mabalane: “This is what I was talking about. If he had not drunk too much, he probably wouldn’t have been involved in a fight.”

By 12am Mabalane had attended to another bloody scene.

But the worst was yet to come, he says.

He expected record high call-outs because of the long weekend.

“We are preparing for the busiest weekend of the year as most people will be throwing parties to celebrate the start of the December holiday break.”

»?A new fleet of ambulances started operating last week in anticipation of the expected high volume of incidents.

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