Thieves preyed on the weak at Hanover Park clinic

Sick people were held up at gunpoint by skelms pretending to be patients at the Hanover Park Community Health Centre.

The Department of Health has now asked the community for help to ensure a safe environment at its facilities.

Patients at the clinic were robbed of their belongings by armed suspects who pretended they needed medical help on Monday evening.

The department said four security guards were on duty  at the main entrance, patrolling the fence and surrounding areas  when five people came in for medical attention. They were searched and no weapons were found.

A witness who asked not to be named told the Cape Times the suspects, one of them with a gun, ran through the waiting room robbing people.

Provincial Health Department spokesperson Monique Johnstone said the CCTV footage showed an unidentified object being thrown over the wall.

Johnstone said the department viewed criminal attacks on staff and clients as an extremely serious matter, and extensive engagements were ongoing with police, Community Police Forums (CPF) and other safety organisations.

“We cannot confirm how many people were robbed at the time or what items were stolen during the incident as we are waiting on the police report,” she said.

Johnstone said the hospital had experienced a similar incident in August 2015.

“The facility does not turn away people seeking health care, and it is most unfortunate and disturbing that criminals prey on those who are in real need of the service,” she said.

The incident came hours after Western Cape Health MEC Nomafrench Mbombo launched the Operation Khuseleka campaign at Tygerberg Hospital, which encourages co-operation among residents, the police, safety organisations and CPFs.