PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma yesterday said the criminals who raped one of two women paramedics responding to a distress call in Johannesburg 10 days ago behaved like animals.
Zuma yesterday visited the Roodepoort fire station where the paramedics work. They were attacked on March 6.
"It was very disturbing to hear that people providing a service to the community were violated in such a cruel manner. Those criminals behaved like animals," he told staff and a crowd of more than 500 people who gathered inside and outside the station.
The two women had responded to a call from Durban Deep, where a toddler had been severely burnt by water. On arrival the paramedics were attacked by three armed men who gang-raped one of them.
"What kind of men attack a woman who has come to save another persons life? These are not humans but animals who are only short of having fur. I am asking the community to work with the police to ensure that these criminals are brought to book. We need to root out criminals in our communities and the only way we can do that is if we work together," Zuma said.
Accompanied by Gauteng premier Nomvula Mokonyane, MEC for safety Khabisi Mosunkuntu and Johannesburg mayor Amos Masondo, the president said the incident had saddened him.
"I made it a point of coming to Roodepoort today to speak to the victims, their families, relevant authorities and the community.
"It has come to my attention that where the incident happened is where the criminals hide. I am told that the grass in the area is very tall and makes it easy for thugs to attack and rob people," he said.
"I am happy that after this incident they [the paramedics] are still prepared to work. These criminals should be arrested as soon as possible."
From now on female paramedics will be accompanied by police officers when going to dangerous areas to avoid the attacks.
Meanwhile, Zuma sent his condolences to the families of the four boys killed in an accident involving hip hop artist Jub Jub last week.