Ambulance crew held and robbed at gunpoint

Crew tells of harrowing morning held up by men with guns and knives

Ambulance crew (from left) Simphiwe Kahlu, Bulelwa Nccanywa and Brian Jantjie after their harrowing ordeal in Kwanoxolo.
Ambulance crew (from left) Simphiwe Kahlu, Bulelwa Nccanywa and Brian Jantjie after their harrowing ordeal in Kwanoxolo.
Image: Werner Hills

An ambulance crew from the Eastern Cape health department, including an emergency medicine student from Nelson Mandela University, were held up and robbed in KwaNoxolo on Thursday morning.

The shaken crew described in detail how they were threatened, sworn at and forcefully taken into a house at knife-point until the police came to their rescue.

Ambulance driver Simphiwe Kahlu said they received a call about a man who was stabbed in Denmark Street just before 10am.

"It is a new area and the streets are not clearly marked so we were looking for the community escort party to show us where the patient was. We saw people waving at us," Kahlu said. 

"There was an empty space where a house had been demolished. There were maybe 12 or 15 men there. They were busy sharpening knives.

"I still thought, 'We are not safe at all'. The next minute I saw a man pointing a gun at us. Another opened my door.

"He had a knife. The others took Brian Jantjie, our student. They took me too. They took us to the house. 

"People were swearing at us and threatening us," Kahlu said.

Bulelwa Ncanywa, 34, who was sitting in the between the two men said she made a call on the radio to let the control room know what was happening.

"I was so scared. I don't know what I was saying. I was just pressing the radio so that they could hear how the men were swearing at us," she said. 

Kahlu said the police arrived on the scene shortly after and they were allowed to leave with the patient.

"Someone stole my cellphone, though. They also tried to take the ambulance key," Kahlu said.

He said the man (for whom the call was logged) was stabbed in his arms and head.

"We dropped him off at Livingstone Hospital."

Ncanywa said: "I got really scared when we couldn't see Jantjies anymore,"  

Jantjies said after he was taken from the ambulance he was taken to the house where the man who had been stabbed was standing in the lounge.

I still love the job
Brian Jantjie

"The armed men told me to treat him. I said I couldn't do it as I didn't have anything with me." 

Jantjies is studying to be a paramedic.

"I still love the job. This was bad, but there are patients who appreciate what we are doing," he said.

Metro's EMS head Brenhan Metune said they were experiencing about two attacks a month.

"I am even at the point now where I think we should get bulletproof vests for our crews," he said.

No arrests were made in relation to the incident.

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