The IFP and DA have called for the Kwazulu-Natal Health MEC to improve safety and security measures at public health facilities in the province following a shooting at a Durban hospital on Friday.
“The IFP in KZN is deeply concerned with the poor safety and security measures at KZN public hospitals and calls on the KZN MEC of Health, Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu to come up with a well detailed plan armed with [a] clear timeframe and tangible solutions on how and when she intends to improve safety in provincial hospitals,” IFP KZN Provincial Spokesperson on Health Ncamisile Nkwanyana said in a statement on Sunday.
This comes after two gunmen shot a patient ‘execution style’ in front of staff and patients at Clairwood Hospital in Mobeni at around 18:30 on Friday, according to the health department on Saturday.
The 47-year-old patient in the male surgical ward had been receiving treatment for previous gunshot wounds, News24 reported.
He had been transferred from King Edward VIII Hospital to Clairwood Hospital on December 23 for wound care and rehabilitation.
The shooters are still on the run.
Simelane-Zulu admitted in a statement on Saturday that the safety system in place was not as effective as she would like it to be.
“Notwithstanding the fact that these people were armed, and that they also threatened our security guards, we should have had a system in place that ought to have made it difficult for them to get away. We will have to urgently re-look at our security protocols and make improvements as far as possible, within our limited financial means,” she said.
She said they would urgently have to look at their security protocols and make improvements within their limited financial means.
The IFP was concerned at the frequency of criminals “doing as they please” in government hospitals.
“This incident is a clear indication that the KZN Department of Health has failed dismally to take the issue of hospital safety seriously.
“Hospitals and clinics are supposed to be safe environments for patients, health care workers as well as the general public. Far too often we hear of staff as well as patients being assaulted, killed and robbed in hospitals,” Nkwanyana said.
The IFP added that it has raised concerns about lack of safety in hospitals “many times in the past” which allegedly fell on deaf ears.
The political party further highlighted government’s promise to put police in all public health care facilities, which is yet to materialise, according to Nkwanyana.
“If police were dispatched as soon as the plan was made public, this incident, a loss of life would have been avoided.
“It is, therefore, high time for the KZN Department of Health to address these issues in the short, medium and long term. As a political head of the Department it is the duty of the MEC to come up with tangible solutions to address this growing crisis in KZN public health care facilities,” Nkwnayana said.
The Democratic Alliance in KZN expressed similar sentiments, saying the shooting followed recent violent attacks at other health facilities in the province, including KwaMsane, Nkonjeni and RK Khan Hospital.
“The DA will be calling on MEC Simelane-Zulu to fast-track a major overhaul of hospital and clinic current security measures, including improved training of security personnel, better visitor entry and security checks, CCTV cameras and evacuation procedures.
“There must also be a closer relationship between such facilities and their local police stations,” DA KZN Spokesperson on Health, Rishigen Viranna said.
Captain Nqobile Gwala told News24 on Sunday that “the matter is still under investigation”.