WATCH | Gauteng paramedics down tools over ongoing violent attacks

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  • Gauteng EMS personnel have raised serious concerns over their safety while on duty.
  • Paramedics have been robbed, shot at and hijacked.
  • They gathered in Johannesburg to deliver a memorandum of demands to their employer.

Paramedics in Gauteng have downed tools over ongoing attacks and robberies by community members.

Paramedics who are attached to the provincial Department of Health, are under siege from attacks by violent Gauteng residents.

They gathered in Newtown, Johannesburg, with a memorandum of demands intended to be handed to the department.

Their demands included police escorts, payment of overtime, and a bigger workforce.

Last week, two paramedics came under fire in the Dukathole informal settlement in Germiston, while attending to an injured person.

One paramedic was shot and wounded.  

The injured patient later succumbed to a bullet wound. 

Akas Nkuna said that, on 22 March, he was hijacked and robbed along the N12 near Daveyton.

Nkuna said he stopped after a hard object hit his ambulance.

READ | Paramedic survives shooting in Cape Town, saved by bulletproof vest

Nkuna said:

I jumped out and saw a man wearing security uniform lying near the road. I went closer and saw that the man had died. While attending to the man, five men armed with guns and a panga attacked me.

He added:

They ordered me into the ambulance and drove the vehicle. They robbed me of my personal belongings, the drug bag and the ambulance's GPS. They stopped the ambulance and jumped out.

He drove to a police station and reported the matter.

Nkuna said:

Police drove with me back to the scene where the dead man was lying. The incident has traumatised me, and I am afraid to travel on the N12. We are targets of armed criminals. Whenever I must respond to any emergency at night, I become worried.

Tshepo Mahlangu, who spoke on behalf of paramedics, said they had lost hope in the provincial government.

Mahlangu said they had previously submitted a memorandum to the health department, but that their demands had been ignored.

"If they are not going to meet our demands, we are going for a shutdown. We want to be paid for overtime. We are forced to 192 hours a month and paid for only 160 hours worked.

"We are not here to make friends with the department. If they don't give us what we want, we are going for a shutdown. We are concerned about our safety, and our employer doesn't care," Mahlangu said.

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