The Philippi Community Police Forum (CPF), has called on the Western Cape Health Department’s Emergency Medical Services (EMS) to reconsider its position to declare Hanover Park a red danger zone.
The EMS announced on Tuesday November 1 that Hanover Park will be added to its red danger zone areas, after EMS paramedics were caught in gang crossfire in Galway Court.
The ambulance was damaged by stray bullets and although the medics were not physically harmed, they had to receive trauma counselling.
The team were in the area to do a death certification. Having the area declared a red danger zone, means that EMS paramedics will no longer enter Hanover Park without the police escorting them.
This process can delay ambulance services to the area for more than an hour, according to EMS spokesperson, Robert Daniels.
Weldon Cameron, secretary of the Philippi CPF, said the shooting incident in Galway Court was an isolated one, and called on the EMS to reconsider its position.
“As the CPF, we condemn the shooting incident in the strongest way. It’s a very sad day that this essential service would now have to be delayed because of that. The area has been quiet for a while now. However, there has been some violence in that pocket around Galway Court.
“The gangsters don’t go out to maim paramedics though, and we view this incident as an isolated one. We are appealing to the health department to reconsider its position on this, as it would only cause a disruption to this essential service,” Mr Cameron said.
In August, the Western Cape Health Department launched its Operation Khuseleka campaign, to encourage co-operation with the “broader society” to help keep health workers safe.
Among the partners of this initiative are the police, CPFs, and the Department of Community Safety.
Mr Daniels said the Khuseleka campaign is ongoing, and by-weekly or monthly meetings are being held by all stakeholders.
He added that declaring the Hanover Park as a red danger zone does not mean the community will not be receiving this service.
He confirmed, however, that the service would be delayed. Hanover Park now joins other areas, including Bonteheuwel, Nyanga, Crossroads, Manenberg, Delft, and Elsies River, which have all been declared red danger zones by the EMS.