Ambulance attacker sentenced amid more attacks on emergency services


A 25-year-old man was sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment on Wednesday after he hijacked, kidnapped, assaulted and robbed emergency service personnel from the Gauteng Department of Health in July last year.

The same day, another ambulance in Gauteng was also targeted by robbers.

The 25-year-old was one of four suspects who robbed emergency service personnel of their mobile phones and other personal belongings while they were responding to an emergency. He was sentenced in the magistrate’s court in Pretoria. The other three suspects involved in the attack are still at large.

The Gauteng Department of Health welcomed the conviction and sentence, but at the same time expressed its concern over two more attacks on emergency service personnel in the past week.

“Our teams are exposed to senseless violence in some communities, which makes it quite difficult for them to respond to emergencies,” said Health MEC Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko.

One of these attacks took place at 10pm on Wednesday in Reiger Park, Ekurhuleni, when two suspects robbed paramedics and fled with their two-way radios. The incident also happened while emergency service personnel were treating a patient in the ambulance.

The second incident took place early Thursday, at 01:30, in Eersterust in the east of Pretoria. According to the department, emergency service workers were also busy treating a patient when one of the paramedics’ mobile phone was stolen. The offender was apprehended shortly afterwards with the help of the community and community policing forum and the phone was recovered. The suspect appeared in the court in Hatfield in Pretoria on Friday and was released on bail.

Attacks on ambulances have already been increasing in recent years. In November 2022, a patient died in an ambulance during a suicide attack in Atteridgeville in Gauteng. In October 2021, a paramedic from the KwaZulu-Natal emergency service in Estcourt was killed in a hail of bullets when she and a colleague responded to an unrelated incident in the area. The driver of the ambulance apparently suffered serious injuries.