The City of Johannesburg’s public safety department said there was no shutdown in the provision of emergency services delivered by city ambulances in Cosmo City.
The municipality made the comment on Tuesday after an attack on its Emergency Management Services (EMS) ambulance crew on Friday led to the temporary suspension of services to Cosmo City.
The ambulance crew was attacked by a mob as it was providing medical treatment to an injured person. The patient was allegedly injured as a result of mob justice.
The crowd turned on the EMS crew when it saw them trying to “rescue” the injured person, who is regarded as a suspect.
The crew was able to retreat from the scene unharmed, but was left traumatised. One of the city’s new ambulances, delivered just eight days earlier, was damaged.
Following the attack, Johannesburg EMS spokesperson Robert Mulaudzi told SABC on Sunday that “for now” the emergency services would be outside Cosmo City.
“It means that they will have to take the patients outside of Cosmo City whereby other ambulances from other areas can be able to render the service. We are not going to be doing normal door-to-door service which we usually do under normal circumstances,” Mulaudzi said.
In a statement on Tuesday, the city’s MMC for public safety, Michael Sun, said the temporary withdrawal of the ambulance service to Cosmo City had been misinterpreted as a “shutdown” of emergency medical rescue services to the residents of Cosmo City.
“This is entirely incorrect. There is no ‘shutdown’ of ambulance service to Cosmo City or anywhere in the city. In light of the attack on the ambulance crew at Cosmo City, we are now screening calls coming from these hotspots,” Sun said.
Sun said if the call was to attend to a volatile situation or a suspicious caller that could not give the crew a precise location or description of the emergency, the city would deploy the necessary resources, escorted by the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD) or the police.
“Each call will be assessed individually, according to merits, type and level of emergency. We want to ensure both the safety of our residents and our EMS members.
“We will not risk the safety of our EMS members in favour of possible fake calls and volatile situations without police escort,” Sun said.
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