6 Apr 2018, Isipingo, KwaZulu Natal: On Wednesday, April 4th, a Rescue Care Paramedics ambulance was stationed in the south Durban region when they became aware of an accident in Isipingo.
Because of the vastness of the city, and our need to cut down response times in the event of an emergency, vehicles in our fleet are deployed strategically. In this case, the ambulance was near a tow truck.
The driver of the tow truck informed our medics that there had been an accident and, worrying for the wellbeing of those involved, our staff responded to the scene.
They arrived to find that the accident had in fact been staged by members of the eThekwini Metro Police and officials from ICASA as part of what we understand was an unauthorised operation.
We operate in a realm in which minutes count, and it would be impossible and irresponsible to attempt to verify every report of an accident we receive. We responded with haste because in most cases people have been injured and require prompt medical care.
Our ambulance was searched without a warrant or reason to believe it was involved in the commission of a crime, our staff were ostensibly kidnapped and had their phones taken from them. They were harassed and pilloried by officers of the eThekwini Metro police.
It remains unclear to us exactly what these officials were searching for. Nothing illicit was found in our ambulance, and our staff were not charged, although they were waylaid for an extended period.
Our attorneys have now proceeded with registering criminal cases of; contravention of section 28 of the criminal procedure act [unlawful search], kidnapping, unauthorised borrowing, cybercrime, crimen injuria and impersonating a police officer against the officials linked to the unfortunate series of events that played out during this debacle.
We are confident that law enforcement authorities will investigate this matter thoroughly, and examine the conduct of the officials who, as members of the law enforcement community, should conduct themselves in a manner which is beyond reproach.
Our primary focus is the preservation of life and our business is conducted in line with all relevant legislation and within the ambit of the law. Holding our medics for no conceivable reason, forcing them to go to the police station and confiscating their cell phones could have had dire consequences had they been prevented from attending to an emergency.
We enjoy a prosperous relationship other arms of the law enforcement community and we wish to condemn this incident for the blight that it is.