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26 November 2018

Another hospital hit as crime syndicate targets Limpopo hospitals

On Friday night, a group of armed men ransacked doctors’ cottages at Lebowakgomo Hospital in Limpopo, stealing cellphones, money and other property.

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

 
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