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A PORT Elizabeth man is in a serious condition in hospital after being stabbed 15 times in broad daylight by three men who robbed him of his cellphone when he was dropping off rubbish at the Arlington municipal dumpsite at the weekend.
The attack has also sparked complaints about the poor response of emergency services. The ambulance did not arrive and it took police almost three hours to get to the scene and arrest two men. A third suspect managed to escape.
Security guards at the site have also come under fire for not stepping in to help when they witnessed the attack.
Speaking from his bed at St George’s Hospital last night, 42-year-old Frank Kafesu said he went to the dumpsite often and had been surprised by the attack. “We went to Arlington to dump waste. These thugs and robbers are always there and sometimes they help us offload. While we were busy, I received a phone call and that is when they saw I had a phone.
“I put the phone in my pocket and they suddenly started beating me and demanding the phone. I refused. The next thing, they started stabbing me,” Kafesu said. His clothes were soaked in blood after the attack.
Kafesu’s boss, Kevin Sampson, said the attack had happened at about 12.30pm when Kafesu and his three co-workers were dropping off waste.
“I received a phone call from one of my employees at about 12.45pm to say Frank had been seriously injured and that I should call an ambulance.
“I immediately called 10111 and asked them to dispatch an ambulance and the police because someone had been seriously hurt.” He said he had then raced to the scene.
“On the way, I passed the truck with Kafesu inside. I also spotted a police vehicle in the area, so I flagged it down and they drove with us to the hospital. By the time we got to St George’s Hospital, his eyes were turned over. He had severe wounds and there was a lot of blood. The other employees who were with him at the time say there were security guards at the site and they did nothing to stop the attack.”
Thobani Sima of Fidelity Security Group, which provides security at the dumpsite, said the guards had a “duty to save somebody who is in trouble within their jurisdiction”. He said the incident was unfortunate and he would investigate.
Sampson said that after Kafesu had been admitted to the hospital’s intensive care unit, he had gone to the Walmer police station to report the incident.
“I asked the officer on duty if they would send policemen to the crime scene. The policeman on duty told me they only had two cars for the entire area and they could not dispatch someone at that time.
“Then I asked if they were going to send police dogs as well and a helicopter to scour the area for the attackers, and they laughed at me and told me they needed the minister’s consent to dispatch the helicopter.”
When the police finally went with him and his employees to try to find the suspects, the ambulance had still not arrived.
“This is an absolute tragedy because after going to the hospital, having Frank admitted, going to the police station and reporting the matter, and even going back to the dumpsite, the ambulance we had called in the beginning had still not arrived 2½ hours later,” Sampson said.
At the dumpsite, the suspects were found sitting on the grass. Two were arrested, but a third escaped.
“Even though they did not want to bring the police dogs, I must say that the police who were there did everything they could with the limited resources they have,” Sampson said.
Police spokesperson Warrant Officer Alwin Labans said two men, aged 18 and 20, had been arrested. They were expected to appear in court today on charges of attempted murder.
Asked about the slow response from police, Labans said Sampson should speak to the station commissioner today.
Municipal spokespersons Kupido Baron and Ongama Mtimka could not be reached for comment last night.
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