Ministers to visit Limpopo hospital after three doctors shot in robbery
Health minister Aaron Motsoaledi and police minister Bheki Cele will visit the Letaba Hospital in Limpopo on Friday after three doctors were shot at their residence on Thursday.
“The minister [Motsoaledi] regard this gustily act of criminality on health professionals and facilities whose responsibility is to provide sanctuary‚ comfort and help to the most vulnerable as a declaration of war on the state and its citizens‚” departmental spokesperson Popo Maja said on Thursday evening.
“And even during moments of war‚ health facilities are usually spared from attacks. Hence this act is viewed as beyond being an ordinary act of criminality.”
Photographs of the crime scene show a broken window and what appeared to be blood and a discarded shoe in the living area of the residence.
One of the victims‚ a woman‚ was taken to hospital in a critical condition and was to undergo surgery. A two-month-old baby was unharmed during the shooting.
The provincial health department said in a series of tweets that witnesses reported that five heavily armed men speaking in a foreign language had carried out the robbery.
witness account says 5 heavily armed men who were communicating in a foreign language broke into the residence, held doctors at gunpoint, robbed them of personal belonging before shooting two female and 1 male doctor— Limpopo Department of Health (@HealthLimpopo) November 22, 2018
Provincial police spokesperson Colonel Moatshe Ngoepe said the doctors were asleep when the group of men broke in. They stole cellphones‚ televisions‚ laptops and cash.
Police are investigating cases of attempted murder and house robbery.
Maja said they believe the attackers are part of an organised criminal syndicate operating in the area.
He said Cele dispatched national police commissioner General Khehla Sitole to join provincial police commissioner Lieutenant-General Nneke Ledwaba and the provincial health MEC Phophi Ramathuba in their investigation.
Maja said government “will leave no stone unturned in unraveling those behind these well-orchestrated acts of criminality on health facilities and personnel”.
Health and Other Services Personnel Trade Union of South Africa (Hospersa) spokesperson Kevin Halama said earlier on Thursday: “It is shocking because it begs the question about security levels at hospitals and facilities. It makes one wonder what is the safety of our members if incidents like this can take place.
“We sent some staff members and work leaders to investigate the incident and also probe the security levels at the facility.”