Beacon Valley community activist, commissioner of oaths and paralegal Edward James George, 73, died at home on Sunday June 11 while waiting for an ambulance.
Mr George worked as a projectionist at The Labia Theatre, in Gardens, completed a law degree and retired as a packer at Mother of Plain about a month before his death.
His son Rafiq Roodt said people were still calling the house asking for Mr George to administer an oath or affirmation, or take a solemn or attested declaration.
Mr George completed a law course at Damelin College and was a qualified paralegal.
He is survived by his 10 children, from two marriages, 34 grand children and 12 great-grandchildren.
Mr Roodt said his father was always of service and helped various residents after hours.
“He was a good father. Always helping in the community. He was a pillar for our community in helping our disadvantaged with legal assistance for free in his spare time.”
Mr Roodt said they called for an ambulance at 8.22pm Saturday June 10 but were told that there was only one vehicle for Mitchell’s Plain.
The ambulance arrived at 8.29am on Sunday but Mr George had breathed his last at 5.25am.
Emergency medical services (EMS) spokeswoman Megan Davids said they would investigate the matter.
“Due to the high volumes of calls on Saturday June 10 there was only one ambulance available at that particular time.
“We can confirm that we have received a call from the deceased’s family, and the call was dispatched,” she said.
She said their night shift dispatch centre had experienced high call volumes to red zone areas, and the call was dispatched to day shift as per protocol in looking after the safety of their staff when attending to these areas.
Ms Davids said that there were too few ambulances and EMS staff nationally.
“This is a perennial problem considering the growing population and burden of disease and is not restricted to emergency medical services alone.
“It is thus unlikely that the shortage of EMS staff will be addressed in the short to medium term as this is dependent on personnel budget,” she said.
She said they needed more examples of the innovation, creativity and collaborations if they were to do more with what was likely to be “less”.
She said the EMS in the Western Cape was continually exploring ways to render patient-centred care around the clock.
“An example of this is our emergency first aid responders (EFAR) programme, where local communities are empowered to assist fellow people with first aid until help can arrive,” said Ms Davids.