LIMPOPO – According to Department spokesperson Neil Shikwambana, two EMS personnel were travelling from Mokopane to Northam after responding to a call when they were blocked by service delivery protesters at Phalane Village next to Northam.
“One of the members managed to escape immediately, however, the protesters took hold of the other crew member and badly assaulted him before he to could also escape and seek help,” he explained.
Reacting to the incident, Health MEC Dr Phophi Ramathuba has expressed her outrage over this egregious happening. “As a department, we try really hard on an annual basis to increase our EMS fleet in order to address community concerns of backlogs which affect our turn around time of responding to emergencies, but if the very same communities see no wrong in destroying the very same fleet then we are in trouble,” Ramathuba explained.
Ramathuba has further called on communities to respect and protect Emergency Medical Services personnel even when protesting. “If any incident can be reported at the protest venue, it will be the EMS personnel who will be tasked with the role to rescue and save lives of the same protesters. We therefore call on people to protest but not in a manner that endanger the lives of innocent citizens and those who are trying to save lives,” concluded Ramathuba.
The two EMS personnel have since been admitted to Thabazimbi Hospital where they are receiving medical attention and counselling.
Police Spokesperson, Col Moatshe Ngoepe added that several trucks were hijacked and the drivers assaulted during this protest action along the Northam and Brits road on Wednesday night.
“During the protest five trucks where hijacked where two of the five trucks and an ambulance were torched. Some truck drivers were forced to offload sand which they were transporting in order to block the road,” said Ngoepe.
The Police intervened and the assaulted drivers were immediately taken to hospital for medical attention. Some are still recuperating there,” he confirmed.
The estimated damage caused during this incident is over R3 million.
The Saps Acting Provincial Commissioner in Limpopo Major General Jan Scheepers has also condemned the atttack and urged anyone with information that can lead to the arrest of the suspects involved in this heinous act to contact Lieutenant Colonel Nditsheni Jeoffrey Ramatsitsi at 082 843 7129. ALternatively they can contact the crime stop number 08600 10111 or the crime line sms 32211 or the nearest Police Station.
The situation has since normalised, however, public order police are still monitoring the area.
The Police investigations are still continuing