Premier Launches R3m Rescue Vehicle | Western Cape Government

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Premier Launches R3m Rescue Vehicle

10 September 2003
Statement by the Office of Western Cape Premier, Marthinus van Schalkwyk, on 11 September 2003

The Western Cape Emergency Services today received a valuable boost from the Provincial Government with the launch of a new R3 million Heavy Rescue Vehicle and a light rural rescue vehicle for high-speed medical rescues. The vehicles were officially handed over to the provincial Emergency Medical Services by Western Cape Premier, Marthinus van Schalkwyk, and the Western Cape Minister for Health, Piet Meyer.

"There is an obvious symbolism to our choice of 11 September for the launch of these two vehicles," said the Premier addressing emergency services staff, volunteers, trainers, and veterans at the Emergency Medical Services college in Parow. "Although this is a date which will always be remembered for its tragedy and loss of life, it is also a date which will be remembered for the sacrifice, professionalism and dedication of the men and women who stand guard over our safety. In the Western Cape we have some of the finest and most skilled emergency services staff in the world, and we owe every one of them our thanks and our admiration."

The new Heavy Rescue Vehicle replaces the existing vehicle, known as Rescue 6, which has been in operation in the province since 1979. Used over 24 years both in the City of Cape Town and other areas of the Western Cape like Piekeniers Kloof, Sir Lowry's Pass and Du Toits Kloof the original Rescue 6 has seen duty on average 12 times per month. "Modern, high-tech and equipped with a large crane the new vehicle will be used to assist those trapped in trucks, buses, under rubble in buildings, under containers or any other similar situations," said the Premier. "The old equipment, which is still operational, will be remounted on two additional heavy rescue vehicles to be stationed in George and Worcester - which will provide invaluable rescue services on both the N1 and N2 and in our rural areas."

Commenting on the process which led to the launch of the new Rescue 6, Premier Van Schalkwyk added: "This important replacement vehicle is one of the fruits of our NNP/ANC Coalition Government - funded primarily by money originally set aside under the former Government for a costly publicity campaign called 'Open Door'. Instead of being used for this purpose part of this money has now opened the door to an even better rescue service in our World Class Province."

The light rescue vehicle which was also handed over by the Premier is the first of five - specially designed for high-speed medical rescues in the rural areas. They will replace the rescue trailers currently stationed in Oudtshoorn, Swellendam, Riversdale, Malmesbury and Grabouw before the approaching holiday season.

The Premier also thanked Minister Piet Meyer and Minister Tasneem Essop, Western Cape Minister for Transport, for the level of coordination and cooperation between their Departments which made the new equipment possible. He also paid tribute to EMS Director, Cleeve Robertson, Dr Wayne Smith and the EMS team for the difference which they and their staff and volunteers continue to make to the safety of the people of the Western Cape.

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