Four people dressed in personal protective equipment (PPE) allegedly shot dead a patient in Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe Hospital in Kimberley

Police spokesperson Colonel Mashay Gamieldien alleged the patient was shot dead at 3:50 on Friday.

The gang also stole the cellphones of patients in the ward, and unplugged the telephone at the nurses’ station before making their getaway.

The incident shocked the provincial health department and staff.

“This is a brutal and unprecedented attack to have happened in one of our health facilities,” said Health MEC Maruping Lekwene in a statement.

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Lekwene alleged the patient had been transferred from the intensive care unit after being treated for gunshot wounds, before being killed in his hospital bed.

“We do not expect such crimes to be perpetrated in facilities which aim to cure the sick.”

He said although public hospitals were, by their nature, not high security facilities, the community and staff could be assured of their safety.

He extended condolences to the deceased, whose identity was not revealed.

But Moleme Moleme, regional secretary for the Frances Baard chapter of the National Education Health and Allied Workers’ Union (NEHAWU) told News24 authorities had already been warned about hospital safety.

Not safe

“Our workers are not safe in their work space,” he said. “This is not the first time we have an incident.”

Moleme said the union had also red-flagged unhappiness about security guards at that hospital not being employed directly by the facility.

“Now with outsourced security, nobody is taking responsibility for the shooting,” he said.

The union hoped to secure a meeting with the MEC and the head of department to discuss its concerns.

Gamieldien said the police set in motion their 72 hour action plan to maximise resources in the hunt for the four attackers.

Anybody with information was asked to contact 082 3020 407 or provide it via the MYSAPS App in confidence.

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