Kariega clinics closed after staff robbed at gunpoint
Eastern Cape health department says five incidents at different clinics have left staff and patients traumatised
Nomangesi Jayiya clinic in KwaNobuhle, Kariega, has been closed since 21 June. This after staff and patients were robbed by three armed suspects at the clinic a week ago.
“One day we will die at clinics while serving patients,” said a nurse who was one of the victims. “The three criminals pointed guns at us and at patients, before ordering us to hand over our cellphones, watches and handbags. They ran off on foot and left us shaken. We do not feel safe to go to work anymore … ever since then.”
Staff at Mabandla clinic in ward 45 have also not gone to work since the incident at the neighbouring clinic on Wednesday last week. Messages on Facebook pages indicate that staff shortages in the past few days at health facilities, such as Edameni and Laetitia Bam Day Hospital in Kariega, are also due to crime incidents.
According to Eastern Cape health department spokesperson Yonela Dekeda, five clinics in Gqeberha were affected by criminality last week. The incidents included:
- five healthcare workers robbed at gunpoint at Nomangesi Jayiya clinic;
- a break in at Kwazakhele clinic that left staff traumatised and fearing for their lives;
- a gun fight outside the gates of Rosedale clinic, which resulted in the death of a gang member and saw staff trapped inside the clinic;
- a gang member chased and stabbed by three members of a rival gang inside Middle Street clinic;
- three staff members robbed on their way home, just outside Lunga Kobese clinic.
Dekeda said the department is providing counselling to the affected staff.
“The department continues to work together with SAPS, social partners and community structures. To improve security in healthcare facilities, the department has recently launched an Integrated Security Solution.” She said this will include security guards, the installation of alarms with panic buttons, and cameras among other security upgrades.
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