Byline: Nonjabuliso Nhlambo

26 June 2023

Mpumalanga MEC for Community Safety, Security and Liaison, Vusi Shongwe, has condemned two recent incidences where two healthcare facilities were attacked by criminals.

Shongwe was reacting to the latest cases where criminals attacked a hospital and a clinic.

According to reports, some unknown men pointed a firearm at a security personnel stationed at the entrance of Pholansikazi Community Health Centre (CHC) on Saturday night.

The men proceeded to fire three shots at the driver of the Emergency Medical Practitioner (EMS) before making it off with an ambulance.

The driver of the ambulance was slightly injured and is receiving medical attention.

The security task team of the company contracted to the Department, swiftly responded to the scene, and their efforts paid off as the hijacked ambulance was recovered within two (2) kilometres from the crime scene.

Another incident happened last weekend at Carolina Hospital. It is reported that the tavern owner was fighting with some of the patrons.

The police were called to the scene and they reportedly responded by firing bullets at the gang that had allegedly attacked the tavern owner.

Subsequent to the fight, those who were injured were taken to Carolina Hospital.

When the person who was brought to the hospital for assistance succumbed to injuries sustained,
the group then started vandalising the hospital. They also attacked and robbed the hospital staff on duty at the time.

MEC Vusi Shongwe says hospitals and healthcare facilities should not be playgrounds for criminals.

He says that the barbaric and heartlessness displayed towards healthcare workers, must never be allowed to thrive.

He mentions that condemning alone is not enough and further indicates that government will continue to work harder to identify any security threats at these facilities, with a view of continuously eliminating threats.

He also says the Department will continue to engage with contracted security service providers and other relevant stakeholders, to find better ways of protecting hospitals and clinic.

Shongwe further calls on communities to assist government in its efforts of safeguarding these facilities and practitioners. He says these establishments exists solely to ensure that communities have access to health services.

“While we are working around the clock to safeguard healthcare facilities and personnel, we also need communities to assist by reporting any suspicious activities or people to the police. The attacks on these facilities and personnel are the worst forms of lawlessness.

Therefore, communities must work with us and expose evil doers,” says the MEC.