Today's Labour News

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ambulanceNews24 reports that stonings, shootings and hijackings are just some of the dangers emergency medical services (EMS) personnel face when entering SA’s red zones – areas considered so dangerous that the personnel are not allowed to enter without a police escort to ensure their safety.

Last week, the Eastern Cape Department of Health confirmed that it would declare areas around Mthatha as "danger zones for emergency vehicles", especially at night, after "a series of attacks targeted at emergency vehicles and personnel". The N2 highway between Mthatha and Qumbu is of particular concern. In the latest incident, which took place just after midnight on Saturday in Nelson Mandela Bay, a brick was thrown at an ambulance, leaving one crew member injured. Western Cape EMS spokesperson Megan Davids said there were four red zones in the province and there had been more than 40 attacks on 70 EMS personnel this year. She reported that the incidents ranged from robbery and stonings to threats at gunpoint and hijackings. Davids commented: “Paramedics have [some of] the highest risk for workplace violence because they work in communities where crime is rife. Paramedics are being assaulted while carrying out a crucial service, specifically in areas where they are needed most. For EMS, the outcomes of these attacks are absenteeism and the increased prevalence of work-related illnesses, all of which contribute to fewer resources being available to respond to emergencies.”

  • Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Nicole McCain at News24 (subscriber access only)

Get other news reports at the SA Labour News home page