Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize admits security lapses at Pelonomi hospital

07 June 2019 - 12:43 By Ernest Mabuza
Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize has called for hospitals to take the safety of patients and staff seriously.
Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize has called for hospitals to take the safety of patients and staff seriously.
Image: Simphiwe Nkwali/Sowetan

Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize has called on hospitals to prioritise upgrading basic security.

Mkhize made the call on Friday when he visited the Pelonomi Tertiary Hospital in Bloemfontein, after the alleged attempted rape of an intern doctor on Tuesday evening.

Mkhize first visited the family of the 24-year-old woman to apologise and offer support to her and her family.

"We have been embarrassed by the incident. We believe it should not have happened. We have come here, together with the MEC, the premier and the departmental management and hospital management, to have a sense of what happened.

“Clearly there was a breach of security in terms of what should have been standing security arrangements,” Mkhize said.

He said he understood that the hospital was vast, with various entrances, and there was a lot of movement of students, the community and patients.

Mkhize said it had been agreed that the entire security system at the hospital had to be upgraded, with hospital management ensuring it was up to standard and the security company performing routine checks to discourage people from "doing the wrong things and loitering in places where they should not be".

The health minister said he believed there had been lapses in the day-to-day maintenance of the security system and there had to be consequences for this.

“We have asked that there be a security committee in the hospital that will involve the senior leaders of various units, as well as some community representation and management."

He said instances of concern needed to be reported and corrective measures taken if something had gone wrong.

Mkhize said the ministry had received reports of doctors being attacked and robbed inside hospitals.

“We are calling upon all hospital management to do the simple, basic thing of upgrading security and taking the security of staff and patients seriously.”