'Animals' raped paramedic - Zuma

2010-03-14 18:24

Johannesburg - The men who attacked two female paramedics attending to a burnt toddler, behaved like animals, President Jacob Zuma said on Sunday.

One of the women was raped.

"It was very disturbing to hear that people providing a service to the community were violated in such a cruel manner... Those criminals behaved like animals," he said addressing Roodepoort fire station staff and a crowd who gathered inside and outside the station.

On the night of Friday, March 6, three men confronted paramedics when they arrived in Durban Deep in Roodepoort to help a toddler who had suffered burn wounds.

According to the police, the trio threatened the two male paramedics and told them to run away, otherwise they would shoot them. They then raped one female paramedic and attempted to rape the other.

Zuma said he had spoken to the victims, their families, the head of emergency services in Roodepoort and the police investigating the matter.

"I am happy that after this incident they (the paramedics) are still prepared to work. These criminals should be arrested as soon as possible."

Police escort

He said they had also agreed to co-ordinating with the police so that female paramedics would be accompanied by the police when going to dangerous areas to avoid the attacks.

Zuma said it was also reported to him that the area where the incident occurred had long grass that criminals used as a hiding spot. He appealed to the city of Johannesburg to cut it.

He also called on citizens to work with the police in fighting crime.

"A lot still needs to be done, but government alone will not succeed. Let us work together with the police because criminals pounce at a every weak point."

The president said the police were investigating the matter vigorously and were following leads.

Meanwhile, he also sent his condolences to the families of four pupils who were killed in alleged drag racing incident in Soweto on Monday and promised to meet the families after the funeral.