They were employed to guard against theft, but have themselves been arrested for stealing.
Four security guards were found in possession of 11 chickens from a hospital kitchen.
Now the Limpopo department of health and social development is investigating all hospitals in the province to assess whether food is disappearing from the kitchens.
The security guards were arrested at the Matlala Hospital near Marble Hall on Monday.
It is believed that the guards were able to steal the chickens because they were assisted from the inside.
Department spokesman Phuti Seloba yesterday expressed his disappointment at the manner in which the guards had conducted themselves.
"These are the people we had entrusted with the responsibility of guarding our institutions."
He said preliminary investigations revealed that the four were about to knock off from work on Monday afternoon when the discovery was made.
According to Seloba, the standard procedure was that the in-coming shift workers searched those who were going home.
The four had tried to hide their bags to avoid being searched, but the loot was discovered, Seloba said.
He said police were called in to take statements from the guards accused of the theft but they had allegedly refused to disclose the names of the insiders who had helped them.
But Seloba warned that they would not rest until the insiders had been exposed. "We will, otherwise, ban these guards from working at any of our institutions."
He said they were also reviewing stock-taking procedures against patients numbers to avoid further incidents of theft.
Those arrested will appear in the local magistrate's court soon.