Calling for Help in an Emergency | Western Cape Government

Calling for Help in an Emergency


Every second counts in an emergency, and could mean the difference between life and death.


Currently, there's no single emergency number in South Africa and therefore you need to save the correct contact details for a possible emergency.  

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For an emergency that needs police response, dial 10111. For an emergency that requires an ambulance, dial 10177. For both of these, you must be able to say where you are and why you need the emergency response. Both of these numbers can be dialled for free.

If you're in the City of Cape Town metropolitan area, you can simply dial 107 (at no cost from a landline or public phone) for ANY emergency or disaster. You must state the nature of the emergency (fire, mountain rescue, traffic accident, crime, etc.) and the operator will ensure that the right emergency response helps you. You should also be able to state where the emergency is.

Dialling 107 from a cell phone won't work. To dial the Cape Town single emergency  number from a cell phone, dial 021 480 7700. Normal cell phone charges apply.

However, if you're calling from a cell phone you can dial 112 and you'll be linked to your cell phone company's emergency call centre.

A call to 112 on a cell phone is free and is even possible on a cell phone that does not have airtime (it also works if you don't have a SIM card). Emergency calls take priority and if the network is busy, other calls will be dropped to take your emergency call. The networks must, in terms of their licences, provide this access to 5 emergency services (fire, ambulance, police, sea rescue and traffic).

The cell phone networks also have different special emergency services that you can dial in addition to 112 or as part of 112 diallings. Check with your network to find out what these are.

Please note that although the calls on these networks may be free, you'll have to pay for any of the medical or other services provided by the private companies linked to the networks that you might use.

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Government Body: (Western Cape Government)
The content on this page was last updated on 9 April 2020