Attacks on doctors force state to review hospital security

South Africa

The state is evaluating security systems that have been put in place at public hospitals as fears grow that attacks on doctors such as the recent ones that happened in Limpopo might spread throughout the country.

The role of private security guards working at health facilities will be the topic of discussion on Friday when Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi meets with security experts to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of security systems at state hospitals.

“The review will be for the whole country and we are using Limpopo as a springboard, and whatever plan we come up with will be applied throughout the country.

“We believe the attacks are in Limpopo but there is nothing stopping them criminals from spreading their activities to the rest of the country,” the minister added.

Motsoaledi said the three armed attacks, which happened at separate healthcare facilities in Limpopo in the past five days, had startled his ministry. In the most recent attack, at a clinic in Manganeng village near Jane Furse, four men pretending to be accompanying a patient before they disarmed and robbed a female security guard. Police, who had been deployed near the clinic chased after them.

The thugs abandoned their vehicle and started shooting at the police.

One suspect was shot and killed, while the other three managed to escape. One of them was later arrested when he tried to open a false case of hijacking, said provincial police spokesperson Brigadier Matlafela Mojapelo.

“The owner of the metered taxi that he had been using was put under pressure, wanting his vehicle back from the suspect. On interrogating him, police found out he was involved in the crime at the clinic and had been the driver of the getaway vehicle,” said Mojapelo.

Motsoaledi said a multi-disciplined task team made up of police intelligence agents, detectives services, the riot squad, private security authorities and Department of Home Affairs officials, had been set up and would get together on Friday with Motsoaledi to evaluate the security systems being used at public healthcare facilities.

This includes looking at the number of guards who work per shift and the methods of searching vehicles and people entering the facilities.


-The Star

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