6 December 2017

South Africa: Western Cape Welcomes Sentencing of EMS Staff Attackers

press release

Joint media statement by the Western Cape Government by MEC of Community Safety, Dan Plato; and MEC of Health, Dr Nomafrench Mbombo on EMS Safety - total of 36 years in jail handed down to attackers

We welcome the hefty prison sentencing handed down to three individuals who attacked a female Emergency Medical Staff (EMS) member on 5 June 2017 in Manenberg.

All three convicted criminals will be spending the next 12 years in jail for their brazen ambush at gunpoint of our emergency personnel serving our communities, during which they made off with her cellphone, bank card and car keys.

We thank the community of Manenberg for their instrumental role in seeing those responsible being arrested and the stolen goods recovered and returned.

The sentencing yesterday in the Wynberg Regional Court C, together with the community's assistance after the incident, should be a constant reminder to those who are hell-bent in attacking or robing our EMS workers: You will be caught and 12 years in jail awaits you.

The sentencing of the three suspects follows on an earlier 12-year sentence handed down in October 2017 to a suspect involved in the aggravated robbery of an EMS member in Khayelitsha.

Key to these sentences are the fact that the court recognises the impact such attacks have on the ability of the Western Cape Government to provide critical services, especially to poor communities. The court also recognises the direct and negative impact of such opportunistic crimes on the EMS staff members and the trauma it causes.

The Department of Community Safety has played a significant role in facilitating the process required to put such evidence before the court in aggravation of sentence.

This forms part of a comprehensive strategy to help increase EMS personnel safety being implemented by the Departments of Health and Community Safety aimed at improving the safety of EMS staff in a sustainable manner.

We urge communities to continue to support and safe guard all emergency support personnel, including medical, policing, fire or law enforcement, when they operate in our communities. Safety is everyone's responsibility.

Together, we can form a united barrier to help prevent these attacks from happening and ensure that justice is dealt harshly onto those who dare attack community servants such as EMS members.

Issued by: Western Cape Community Safety

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