MEC calls for tighter security after hospital stabbing

2011-06-08 09:11

Security guards must search everyone entering a state institution, including hospitals, to make sure they do not have weapons, the Mpumalanga department of safety and security said today.

“Access control at hospitals is the duty of the security guards posted there and they should make sure that people accessing the facilities are always checked to ensure that everybody is safe,” safety and security MEC Vusi Shongwe said in a statement.

Shongwe condemned the killing of a doctor at the Middelburg Hospital yesterday.

He said it was regrettable that the incident happened in a government establishment.

“Through our security management officials, the department will also establish how the suspect gained entry to the hospital with a knife, without the security guards detecting him, and steps should be taken against those guards who failed to perform their duties as required,” he said.

Yesterday, a 32-year-old patient allegedly stabbed Dr Senzosenkosi Mkhize in the chest, and a security guard who tried to intervene, in the wrist, around midday.

At the time, Mkhize was working in the out-patient department, where the patient had gone for a follow-up consultation.

The guard was admitted to the same hospital in a stable condition. Mkhize was transferred to a nearby private hospital in a critical condition and died later in the day.

The patient fled the scene and was still at large.

Shongwe sent his condolences to Mkhize’s family and wished the injured security guard a speedy recovery.

The Police and Prisons Civil Rights’ Union (Popcru) was “disgusted” by the killing.

The union’s spokesperson, Mampane Norman, said: “Most hospitals are suffering from security lapses which, amongst others, are caused by lack of security intelligence at these institutions, with lowly trained security companies issued with tenders and the absence of continuous observation of all patients in the vicinity of health sites.

“We join all progressive trade unions organising within the health sector to campaign vigorously to change the status quo.”

The Democratic Nursing Organisation of SA (Denosa) was angered by the killing, saying: “As an organisation that advocates for safe practice environment for all health care workers we are disturbed that such incidents of brutality are persisting in our health centres.

“As Denosa we are concerned by the safety and security of healthcare workers in the province as this is not an isolated incident, this issue needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency if we are to overhaul our health system.”

Both trade unions sent condolences to Mkhize’s family and friends.

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