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Mall security clamps ambulance parked in disabled parking bay

The post drew more than a hundred comments with a few members of the community calling the paramedics out for abusing the status of the ambulance as an emergency vehicle.

Residents threw shade at the Newcastle Mall in response to a photo shared on social media of an ambulance with its wheels clamped …But there is a valid reason for the security guard’s action, according to the mall.

Security at the Newcastle Mall clamped the wheels of an ambulance parked in a bay allocated to people living with disabilities on Saturday, August 18.

The ambulance belongs to private ambulance service, Urgent Lifecare, which is based in Tongaat.

A resident, who noted that the lights on the ambulance were left flashing, posted a photo of it on social media, expressing his concern that the paramedics may have parked there while attending to a medical emergency at the mall.

“I have to say…. if the paramedics were attending to a patient in an emergency and had to rush them to the hospital and that patient was in a life critical condition …I think the lawsuit would be a big one should that patient suffer anything serious. The red lights are on so this could be for a reason.  Security better have their story right here,” stated Wayne Baxter in a Facebook post.

The post drew more than a hundred comments with a few members of the community calling the paramedics out for abusing the status of the ambulance as an emergency vehicle, while many more criticised the mall for clamping an emergency vehicle which may have had a legitimate reason for breaking the rules, while doing nothing to control errant taxi drivers.

“Don’t blame the mall for that blame the ass that parks there. And the ambulance service should be the ones to be sued,” said Joao Filipe.

Ayanda Mkhwanazi commented, “Stupid useless security management why clamp an ambulance showing red lights. This makes me angry man.”

“How on earth do you clamp an ambulance?” asked Lethiwe KamaHadebe Thusi.

“…Take into consideration that these people (first responders) abuse their status as emergency cars and stop anywhere to do their shopping. Just saying. Seeing it a lot,” pointed out Nico Van Huysteen.

Corrie du Preez complained, “En die taxis park die wereld vol daar net waar hulle wil,” and Michelle Heystek echoed Corrie’s sentiments, “I don’t go to the mall, cause of the taxi’s. They are a big irritating bunch, hooting the whole time, blocking traffic. What’s the use of the traffic signs outside by the entrance showing NO TAXI’S?”

“It’s because 70% of their customers and workers use it,” stated Mtho Urban Brazo, justifying the presence of taxis at the mall.

Spokesperson for the Newcastle Mall, Beulah Rajkumar said management “…is aware of the photograph currently circulating on social media, where a clamped ambulance is shown parked in a disabled parking bay.”

According to Rajkumar, CCTV footage reviewed by the Newcastle Mall confirms that the ambulance was not attending to an emergency and that the paramedics were, in fact, shopping at the mall.

“Newcastle Mall prioritises the safety of shoppers, staff and tenants, and endeavours to protect the legitimate use of the disabled parking bay,” said Rajkumar.

Urgent Lifecare was contacted for comment but had not responded at the time of print.

Charles Steyn, a paramedic at Magenta Emergency Medical Services, based in Newcastle, said he finds it ‘totally unacceptable’ for an emergency vehicle to be parked in a bay allocated to people living with disabilities, unless the paramedics were called out to respond to an emergency.

“An ambulance van is registered as an emergency vehicle not as a disabled vehicle,” Steyn pointed out. “If the paramedics were at the mall attending to a patient or responding to an emergency, then it is understandable that they would park there. If CCTV footage proves that they were shopping in the mall then they deserve ‘the hiding’ they get.”

“Some people misuse their powers and that is wrong. It is unlikely that the security guard will just clamp the wheels of an emergency vehicle. Usually, when we respond to an emergency at a shopping centre or a mall, the security guard will be waiting to escort us to where the patient is, while a second guard remains behind to keep an eye on our vehicle,” Steyn explained.

“We would never park in a disabled parking bay just to do some shopping. We just don’t do that. Unless we are responding to a call out, we park in an ordinary parking bay, and we walk,” he concluded.

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