KZN Health MEC condemns ambushing of an ambulance in Estcourt, which resulted in the death of a female paramedic and critical wounding of her crew mate

04 October 2021

KWAZULU-Natal Health MEC Ms Nomagugu Simelane has described as "outrageous, barbaric and cowardly" the ambushing of two paramedics, which resulted in the death of a 40 year-old mother of three, and the critical wounding of her crew member last night.

The now-late Phumzile Dlamini and her crewmate, whose name is being withheld, were ambushed while in the back of the ambulance, in the early hours of the morning, while preparing to rush a patient to hospital.

The patient had been shot at his home in the Mabhanoyini area, near Estcourt.

The paramedics had already picked up a patient who had sustained a fractured leg, when they had to detour to the home of the wounded man.

After securing him, they suddenly heard gunshots coming from outside.

Ms Dlamini, who was an Intermediate Life Support paramedic with 10 years' service and hailed from Greytown, was hit twice and demised on the scene.

Her crew mate sustained three gunshots and was rushed to hospital, where he remains in critical condition.

None of the gunshots reached the two patients in the bullet-riddled ambulance.

Cartridges of high-calibre bullets which were found at the scene deepen the mystery of why innocent paramedics found themselves at the receiving end of such untold brutality.

A deeply concerned and distraught MEC Simelane has condemned the incident in the strongest possible terms. She has sent her condolences to the Dlamini family, and also called on law enforcement authorities to do everything possible to bring the perpetrators to book.

She said: "An incident like this is spine-chilling. It is barbaric, cowardly and completely shocking. It's a strong signal that something has gone horribly wrong in our society when innocent first responders, whose core responsibility is to save lives by helping those in emergency situations, get attacked and murdered like this. It's outrageous.

"We're told that Ms Dlamini had a daughter aged 21 who is at university, and two sons aged 19 and 12. She had a husband, and had worked for the Department for 10 years. What must her family do, now that her life has been snuffed out so suddenly, and so senselessly? We don't even know whether her crew-mate will survive this attack; or, if he does, how his life will be from now on. We can only wish him a full and speedy recovery, while our healthcare practitioners attend to him

"But it's not the first time that our paramedics are being attacked in this fashion. Incidents where paramedics get called out to emergency scenes, only to get robbed and stabbed, or subjected to various other forms of violence and hostility, have become commonplace. This really, really has to stop. That is why we are calling on our communities to isolate and expose these heartless thugs.

"These criminals are in our communities. Someone, somewhere, knows something about that they have done. That is why we are urging our people bring forward any information that might lead to the their arrest, so that they can be brought to book.

"We really don't want a situation where our paramedics refuse to work at night, because then people whose lives can be saved will start dying. So, it's in the interest of all of us that justice is served, and that paramedics are protected at all times."

ENDS Issued by the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health

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