FOUR men, at least one of them armed, stormed the Life Westville Hospital this morning, holding up the security guard, staff member and a patient waiting to be admitted, before robbing them and stealing two televisions mounted in the waiting area early this morning.
The incident occurred at 5am and took less than a minute, a source who cannot be named, told the Daily News.
The source said a white Toyota Etios stopped outside the front entrance where four men got off and ran into the reception and entrance area. The driver remained in the car. The source said only one of the men brandished a firearm and could not be certain if the others were also carrying guns.
The men, wearing hats and hoodies to avoid being detected by CCTV cameras, split up in the reception area.
They ripped off two flat-screen televisions from the wall-mounted brackets and snapped the cables. They also took the security guard’s cellphone. A staff member behind the counter and a patient who was waiting to be admitted were also robbed of their cellphones and cash.
The robbers got into the car and fled. The car sped off down the oncoming lane leading into the hospital.
Some of the staff had been informed of the robbery by management when they arrived for work this morning.
Police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbele said a staff member was performing his duties when he was accosted by four armed men who were travelling in a white vehicle and threatened him.
“The suspects then entered the hospital building where they removed two TVs from the wall and robbed the patients of their cellphones and cash,” Mbele said.
A case of robbery was opened at Westville police station for investigation.
Atish Maharaj, Life Westville Hospital manager, said no patients or employees were harmed.
“An incident of this nature is distressing, and counselling has been offered to those affected. The safety and security of our patients, employees and property are of the utmost priority, and we are in discussions with our security company to assess the hospital’s current security measures,” Maharaj said.
The lack of police crime intelligence units to curtail armed robbery syndicates has been blamed for this morning’s robbery at the hospital.
Mary De Haas, a KwaZulu-Natal violence monitor, said the police crime intelligence unit needed a major shake-up and audit to stop gangs, carrying firearms, from conducting brazen robberies. She said every police station was supposed to have crime intelligence.
“The fact that so many people run around with guns, shoot people, murder and rob, is an example that nobody seems to know what is going on in the police service,” she added.
– Daily News