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Ambulance targetted during protest action

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Hout Bay Volunteer Emergency Medical Service (Volunteer EMS) condemns the attacks on its property.

This comes a week after their ambulances were targeted while attending to an emergency in Hangberg, causing damage to the driver’s window and two of the door locks.

Matthew Rosenberg of Volunteer EMS says when incidents like this occur they limit their ability to help those who most need assistance in times of crisis.

“In this case the ambulance was booked off for the remainder of the weekend which led to delays in patients accessing care. We are thankful that Hout Bay Insurance Brokers have sponsored our insurance premiums for many years. This has allowed us to get the vehicle repaired and ready for the volunteer shifts this weekend. We are hopeful that the community will assist in identifying the suspects to the police.”

Rosenberg says there have been no leads on the incident as yet.

At the time of the incident three volunteers were on duty and were busy attending to patients when the alleged suspects broke into the ambulance.

“They (the volunteers) were thankfully unharmed which is of course the first priority­.”

He says although there have been no direct attacks on their volunteers, there have been break-ins at their ambulance base.

Rosenberg explains that Volunteer EMS works in conjunction with the provincial department of health, assisting mostly people who cannot afford private services.

Paul Lutz, a volunteer since 2014, explains they had been at the scene for more that 30 minutes when he went to fetch paper from the ambulance at around 01:00 and he was shocked to find it damaged.

He says this has not discouraged him from serving the community, but he urges the public to be more appreciative and supportive of those putting their lives at risk to help where needed.

“This will not impact on my willingness to help the community. We cannot allow the actions of a single individual or small group to negatively affect the community.

“Nearly all our patients live in extreme poverty. They cannot afford private medical care and the government service is woefully underfunded so we provide a valuable service­.”

As a non-profit organisation depending on donations, they currently have 20 volunteers who all have day jobs or are studying but offer their services free of charge.

The service was started 25 years ago and has grown from strength to strength, continuing its valuable work to this day.V For more information on how to donate towards Volunteer EMS, visit Hout Bay Volunteer Emergency Medical Service on Facebook.

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