Townships and northern areas ganglands hardest hit in metro
State ambulances responded to a staggering 738 gunshot call outs in the Nelson Mandela Bay metro in the first 11 months of the year.
Of those, 188 people were declared dead by paramedics, almost one firearm fatality every two days. Statistics show the city’s townships and northern areas gang lands were the hardest hit.
And the burden of responding to these cases has taken a toll on emergency services staff, provincial Emergency Medical Services (EMS) director A K Munilall said.
They have 15 to 18 ambulances a shift covering the entire municipality.
“As a result, our staff have faced abuse from the public for arriving late,” he said. “EMS staff, themselves, have been held at gunpoint and robbed of their belongings.
“This trend has severely traumatised them to the extent that we had to seek help for them.” Eighteen ambulances were attacked last year and 16 this year.
Munilall said 10 staff members serving the Bay area had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. “These staff members cannot work on the ambulances and must be accommodated elsewhere,” he said.
EMS was in constant engagement with police, ward councillors and communities to help reduce gun crime.