'Exposure to teargas combined with asthma' led to Plett resident's death

The N2 freeway near Plettenberg Bay was closed on July 4 2019 due to a service delivery protest.
The N2 freeway near Plettenberg Bay was closed on July 4 2019 due to a service delivery protest.
Image: Twitter/Sphiwe Hobasi

As Helen Jansen from Plettenberg Bay was suffering from the teargas unleashed during a local service delivery protest, exacerbated by her asthma, her husband Gert called the police and paramedics “many times”, but Helen passed away.

“The ambulance was delayed and/or prevented due to the protest and the barricades, debris and obstructions placed in the roads by protesters,” Bitou municipality spokesperson Manfred van Rooyen said in a statement on Tuesday, from information Gert provided.

Helen, 60, affectionately known as “Auntie Inkie”, died on Thursday at 11.11pm.

“Prolonged inhalation and exposure to teargas allegedly triggered or compounded the asthma condition and it worsened progressively throughout the day, with even the inhaler not giving release,” Van Rooyen said.

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“When finally an ambulance did arrive with a police escort, Mrs Jansen had already died, surrounded by her husband and family.”

Van Rooyen said Gert is not prepared to speak to the media “yet” and wants to honour Helen’s memory.

Local ward councillor Anne Windvogel and Van Rooyen visited the Jansen family on Sunday.

The Bitou municipality reached an agreement with protesting residents at the weekend following violent clashes in Plettenberg Bay.

Van Rooyen said earlier a second woman was in a coma due to a “stone-throwing” incident.

“Bitou and its whole community, its economy, its reputation as a brand and tourist destination of choice ... can ill afford a resumption of riots, unrest, looting, ransacking, public violence and the lawlessness that typified the service delivery protests.”


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