Scanners, cameras and panic buttons to be installed in Mpumalanga hospitals following death of patient

Mpumalanga premier Refilwe Mtsweni-Tsipane and health MEC Sasekani Manzini speaking to the media on Tuesday.
Mpumalanga premier Refilwe Mtsweni-Tsipane and health MEC Sasekani Manzini speaking to the media on Tuesday.
Image: Mandla Khoza

The Mpumalanga government has resolved to install scanners, cameras and panic buttons in all health institutions following the murder of a patient at a Witbank hospital.

Premier Refilwe Mtsweni-Tsipane said the installations would start today to prevent more unfortunate incidents in health institutions, following the murder of a patient at Witbank General Hospital on Saturday.

The 34-year-old victim was being treated for gunshot wounds and was finished off at the hospital.

This triggered nurses and doctors to stage a protest over safety concerns.

“We know that this is not the first incident to take place in our health facilities, we have seen a number of incidents in our facilities. During the current budget which we just passed today (Tuesday), we had to start implementing upgrades in our hospitals. 

"It’s unfortunate that the incident has caught up with us whilst we were in a process of upgrading security in our hospitals,” said Mtsweni-Tsipane. 

She said the other problem they were facing was babies and medicines being stolen from health facilities.

“That is something we condemn. We would also like to appeal to our communities to respect our personnel and also report anything uncalled for happening [in our institutions]. We can’t have our personnel attacked where they are trying to help the public. And we can’t have community members who come to seek health and end up coming out not breathing,” said Mtsweni-Tsipane.

She said they were also investigating the security personnel at the Witbank hospital. 

“We will also enter and enforce our operation standards, but equally we are concerned that as we speak our people are not accessing health services because our nurses are scared. 

"We would like to appeal to the staff members to go back to work, we have talked to the unions and will speak to the staff tomorrow morning,” said Mtsweni-Tsipane. 

In 2014, a newborn baby Mandlazi was stolen by a woman at Rob Ferreira Hospital in Mbombela. The baby was never found. 

In 2015, a patient killed another one using a drip stand in Evander Hospital in Secunda, while a nurse was stabbed and a doctor was murdered by a patient at Middelburg Hospital. 

Provincial police commissioner Gen Mondli Zuma said they have identified the suspect.

“The investigations are progressing very well. Yes, we have a clue who the perpetrator is but we cannot say much now because we might jeopardise the investigation,” said Zuma. 

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