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Adding to the various cases involving vigilantism throughout Newcastle and surroundings, KwaZulu-Natal Private Ambulance staff braved a crowd of irate community members to treat a battered and beaten suspected criminal.
Sifiso Zwane of KZN Private Ambulance explained that on Monday, 24 October 2022, the Emergency Medical Service provider received a call just before 10.30 am regarding a severely beaten man in Taxi City.
“The patient was believed to be a suspected scam artist, who targeted victims at ATMs. At the time of the incident, he was standing in the queue at the ATM when the woman he was following called for assistance from community members, telling them that the man was trying to scam her,” started Zwane.
Coming to her aid, the crowd immediately responded to the woman’s call for help. “There were three men with the man, and they ran away when they saw the community members approach them. The man who the woman pointed out, ran into a bank branch situated at Taxi City.”
However, his attempts to escape unnoticed were unsuccessful as someone saw him in the bank. Community members then dragged him outside and began beating him, attempting to drag him deeper into the taxi rank.
Furthermore, Zwane pointed out that security on site managed to pull the man to safety while notifying the Newcastle SAPS of the matter. Holding the crowd at bay, while waiting for law enforcement to arrive, KZN Private Ambulance was notified.
Zwane said he and his team made their way through the crowd to attend to the patient, who by that stage had sustained substantial head injuries with some minor body injuries.
“He was conscious when we arrived, and we stabilised him before transporting him to Madadeni Hospital for further treatment.” Zwane did however point out, “People might ask what is the use of saving a thief, but as paramedics, we believe everyone has the right to life.”
Despite the enraged crowd and hostile environment, Zwane stated that he and his team felt safe with the police watching over them while they stabilised the man.
“When arriving at a scene, paramedics always ensure their safety is not compromised, especially when the scene is chaotic. But with the police there, we knew we were safe. Secondly, irrespective of what the man did, we have to make sure people are treated fairly and with dignity.”
With the latest act in a long line of vigilantism cases in Northern KwaZulu-Natal, what are your thoughts on this?
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