According to comedian Trevor Noah, South African emergency operators have a very different definition of ’emergency’ to their counterparts in the US.

Watch below as the South African expat describes his recollections of the 10111 service in South Africa, pointing out how casual it is and that unlike in the US there’s no chance the emergency services would ever respond to a cat being stuck in a tree!

Many South Africans have commented on the video post, agreeing with Noah. Nontobeko Lynnette Mhlongo said: “I called 10111 once to report that I suspected that someone had passed out or died on our corner.

“Firstly they respond by just saying “hello”. No “10111 what’s your emergency” or “This is the South African Police Services how can I help you”. Just a simple “hello”.


“They asked me what I was doing there? Where was I going when I saw this person? How long has the person been out there for and is anyone else around? How do I know if he’s dead or passed out? Then they asked if I can get to the nearest police station to write a statement.”

One Kenyan fan revealed that it’s worse in Kenya where “they’ll tell you the police car is out of petrol, but if you go by the station and pick them up or pay for gas, they’ll come…”

Noah was talking to his Daily Show audience in the US during his award-winning ‘Between the Scenes’ slot.

WATCH Trevor Noah on 9-1-1 in South Africa

9-1-1 in South Africa

South African 9-1-1 operators have a very different definition of “emergency.”

Posted by Between the Scenes on Monday, September 24, 2018

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