Mpumalanga hospital robbery: 'The only security guard with a gun ran for cover'

Lack of safety at hospitals is making headlines.
Lack of safety at hospitals is making headlines.
Image: Tyler Olson/ 123RF.com

Nurses in Mpumalanga say they are tired of going to work in fear after some were robbed at a clinic near KwaMhlanga on Monday night, only a week after a shootout at the Witbank hospital.

Denosa nursing union provincial spokesman Mzwandile Shongwe said in the past few weeks there had been numerous security breaches at hospitals and clinics.

On Monday night, men broke into the Siyabuswa clinic and stole nurses' bags, he said. 

"The only security guard with a gun had to run for cover."

Police confirmed the incident.

On Saturday, "thugs" at the Matsulu clinic, between Nelspruit and Malelane, harassed nurses to get treatment before other patients who had been there first, said Shongwe. 

At Witbank hospital, about two weeks ago, two men who had been fighting at a tavern and were taken to casualty for treatment, continued their shootout at the hospital. A policeman who was at the hospital intervened and no one was hurt.

Last week, the Witbank hospital nurses "downed tools" to highlight safety concerns. 

National Denosa spokesman Sibongiseni Delihlazo said nurses needed CCTV cameras and metal detectors in hospitals and better security gates.

Mpumalanga health spokesperson Dumisani Malamule said the MEC for security and safety and the provincial police commissioner had visited the Witbank hospital last week.

They have agreed to place steel gates at the Witbank hospital entrance as there is only a boom gate that does not restrict pedestrian access.

Police have said they will patrol at the hospital hourly and sign a register to ensure the patrols are monitored, he said.

"We have met with unions. We have beefed up security."

Last year, Malamale said some security guards at Mpumalanga hospitals had carried  firearms, but this resulted in them being attacked and their firearms stolen by criminals.

"So we are working towards a better security strategy."

Malamule said he had not heard about the latest robbery but added he was aware many health centres needed improved security. 

This comes after an intern doctor was almost raped at the Pelonomi hospital in Bloemfontein when a man loitering in the hospital entered the doctor's sleeping area. The security gate was broken.  

The Health Professions Council of SA had highlighted problems at Pelanomi hospital in its preliminary report after a visit of the council to the hospital in late March this year.  

Its preliminary report on the hospital highlighted poor facilities.

Since the attempted rape, the Free State health department has increased security measures and personnel at the Pelonomi hospital.

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