A criminal syndicate seems to be targeting Limpopo hospitals
after two armed robberies took place within 24 hours in the province.
A health worker was injured and others robbed at the
doctors’ residences at Lebowakgomo Hospital a day
after a similar incident at Letaba Hospital.
Shootout between guards and criminals
A group of armed men forcefully entered the doctors’ cottages
and ransacked a number of them on Friday night, stealing cellphones, money
and other property, according to the Limpopo Department of Health.
One health care worker was assaulted and sustained minor injuries
and there was a shootout between security guards and the criminals.
It is believed that the criminals used the same method at
Letaba Hospital last Thursday morning,
breaking through the security fence. There three doctors were shot and robbed.
The attack happened hours after Health Minister Dr Aaron
Motsoaledi announced a review of state security in the province’s public health
institution during his visit to Letaba Hospital accompanied by Police Minister
General Bheki Cele.
Motsoaledi says that
a criminal syndicate is responsible as “at quite of number of hospitals; people
have been robbed especially doctors, including George Masebe, Helen Franz in
Bochum and Zebidela, Matlala hospitals”.
Criminals well organised
Motsoaledi added: “Specifically why they chose hospitals
is a puzzle to us; that is what crime intelligence needs to find out. We have
agreed with General Cele that the police must help us to assess the manner in
which security is provided in our health facilities. We don’t have that
expertise in health.”
Motsoaledi is planning meetings with the police, Home Affairs
and the Security Industry Regulatory Authority (SIRA) to plan how to curb crime
targeted at health facilities.
Meanwhile, Cele believes these are organised crime syndicates and
police should increase their effort to apprehend them. “The criminals that were
here are well organised, which means they have upped their game; that means
government and South African police must up their game,” he said.
“We must work hard to make sure that people are safe and the
criminals are squeezed. We cannot have a country that is run by criminals. Coming
to the hospitals; this is a place of health not death. We cannot convert
hospitals to mortuaries. You cannot come and kill people here and nothing
happens,” said Cele. - Health-e News.
Image credit: Health-e News