When life savers revert to becoming the prey of heartless scoundrels, the the fabrics of the society becomes lost in frivolities. However, when an emergency call comes in from one of South Africa’s most crime-ridden neighbourhoods, ambulances do not rush straight to the scene but to a police station first to request an armed escort.

Unimaginable increase ┬áin attacks on ambulance workers has led to parts of Cape Town being declared danger “red zones”, but beefing up security means delayed response times in some of the poorest districts of the country.

Vices such as robbery, theft, vandalism, violence, at times linked to criminal gangs – more than 100 attacks against paramedics and drivers were reported in the Western Cape province in 2016.

Social worker, Patricia September and her colleague, both ambulance workers, were driving on a road bordering one of the red zones in the early morning hours when two gunshots rang out.

In another twist, a brick hit the windscreen, causing her colleague to battle to control the ambulance from rolling, she recalled.

It has been reported that the stoning of vehicles is a frequent hijacking ploy and medics are not spared.