A quick response by a local security organisation helped in the delivery of a healthy baby at a garage in the Sea Glades complex in Hout Bay on Wednesday 12 September at about 07:20.
Two members of Watchcon, Dennis Stoffels and Reuben Maarman, had just started with their morning shift after 06:00 when a call came through from a panic-stricken resident, requesting help for a woman in labour.
Resident Natalie Kotze put her hopes in the security officers after waiting for an ambulance since 04:00.
The members did not disappoint – they contacted relevant organisations and made sure both the baby and the mother were in good hands.
“We realised the seriousness of the situation and quickly acted. It was understood that ambulances usually take long to arrive and the baby was on his way. We got hold of the firefighters and luckily they were there in no time and the baby was safely delivered,” says Stoffels.
Kotze explains the baby was delivered at 7:20 on the floor of their garage by the two “hero” firefighters, Paul Nefdt and Gary Strydom.
She says the mother, Thozama Gonono, was getting frustrated as her labour was getting intense.
“At 04:50 I got a phone call for help as they feared they would wait a while for an ambulance. Watchcon was a huge lifesaver. It was through their help that a call was put through to the local Hout Bay Fire Department to send help.
“There were two heroes from Fire and Rescue, Paul Nefdt and Gary Strydom, who were sent to their house to help. The two gentlemen were on the scene and remained with Gonono as they continued to wait for an ambulance.”
Nefdt says it is always a pleasure for them to help where they can, working closely with other stakeholders in the community of Hout Bay.
He says they have skills in delivering babies and each year they deliver an average of 10 babies.
He says it is not often that they get such gratitude from patients or the community, yet what the Gonono family along with Kotze has done is remarkable.
Nefdt says it is mostly residents from Imizamo Yethu who arrive at the station needing immediate intervention during labour.
Gonono (47) thanked everyone who came through for her to make sure her only baby boy was delivered in good health.
“As the wait prolonged I started to panic; I needed any help I could get. When the firefighters arrived I got even more worried but the baby was already on the way and had to be delivered right here.
“I cannot put it in words how it felt when I first held my baby. I am grateful to the guys that responded to our call and the two firefighters.
“I would like them to know that we are both doing fine and would never forget their selfless gesture.”
She says nowadays it is scary to give birth away from the hospital but she knew it was possible because she had once delivered one of her two daughters at home before.
Theo Layne, spokesperson for the City of Cape Town’s Fire and Rescue Service, confirmed the two officials are well trained to deliver babies. He applauded the two firefighters for a job well done.