Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

Provincial hospitals and clinics in Mpumalanga will be protected by armed guards after a spate of robberies at health facilities in the province.

The provincial community safety department said on Tuesday that it had resolved to deploy armed guards in all provincial hospitals and community health centres.

"This follows a number of robberies that took place in various health facilities over the past few months‚" spokesperson Joseph Mabuza said in a statement. "The latest incident occurred last month in Mapulaneng Hospital where a doctor was nearly shot by robbers conducting a robbery at the doctor’s residence."

Mabuza said a security situational analysis was conducted on safety at health facilities during a meeting between health MEC Gillion Mashego‚ finance MEC Eric Kholwane and community safety and security and liaison MEC Pat Ngomane on Monday.

"The meeting resolved that armed guards will be deployed with immediate effect to ensure the safety of our people‚ including patients‚ doctors and nurses‚" said Mabuza.

It was not immediately clear whether the existing guards at the hospital were certified to carry firearms or whether new guards‚ with the appropriate certification‚ would be brought in. Mabuza was not immediately available to answer this question.