Sipho Mabena

By Sipho Mabena

Premium Journalist

Hijackers flee with truck offloading medication at Gqeberha clinic

The hijackers fled with the truck still loaded with medication meant to be delivered to at least three other facilities in Gqeberha.

The Eastern Cape Department of Health has strongly condemned the hijacking of its truck delivering medication at a clinic in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro, Eastern Cape.

According to the department, the incident happened on Friday as the truck filled with medication was offloaded at the NU 8 Clinic in Gqeberha.

“The assailants fled the scene with the truck, still loaded with medication that was meant to be delivered to at least three other facilities in Gqeberha,” the department said in a statement.

Suspect arrested

SA Police Service (Saps) responded to the hijacking and the delivery truck was later recovered at Sohobese Street in NU11 in Motherwell.

One suspect has been arrested in connection with the incident.

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“We welcome the arrest and thank the Saps for their swift action in apprehending one of the suspects. We condemn this brazen act of criminality with the contempt it deserves. When criminals attack our facilities and steal medicine supplies, the communities we serve, the poorest of the poor who rely on the public sector for their health and care needs, suffer as service delivery is affected,” the provincial Member of the Executive Council (MEC) responsible for health Nomakhosazana Meth said.

She called on communities to take ownership of government properties and protect healthcare workers against criminals.

Staff shaken after hijacking

Though no staff member was injured during the hijacking incident, the department said the attack left them shaken and psycho-social support has been arranged for the staff.

The MEC said such crimes put unnecessary strain on the department’s already stretched resources.

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“Such incidents not only contribute to disruptions in services but also make it difficult to attract and retain the scare skills of health professionals so badly needed in our province,” she said.

Meth added that these incidents may also result in unnecessary delays in the distribution of medication to facilities in the Metro.

Attacks on emergency vehicles  

In February 2020 an ambulance was reportedly found stripped after it was hijacked in Strydkraal, Ga-Nchabeleng, Limpopo.

The ambulance, a Toyota Quantum, was en route to the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) station in Ga-Nchabeleng after transporting a patient to Jane Furse Hospital when it was attacked.

The crew was robbed of their personal belongings and left unharmed.

Last November KwaZulu-Natal police conducting investigations in Ndwedwe outside Durban arrested a 32-year-old for hijacking an ambulance and two other vehicles at the Pavilion shopping mall.

ALSO READ: Five tips to prevent becoming another hijacking statistic

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