A prominent city medical specialist – helping dozens of young underprivileged South Africans reach their dreams of becoming doctors – has been gunned down in a hijacking.
The killing of 41-year-old Dr John Moche, described as a well-known fighter in the campaign for affordable health care for all South Africans, has left the country’s medical fraternity reeling and has raised anger about crimes perpetrated against those trying to save lives.
According to police, Moche was shot through the heart by two men in Riviera as he sat in his Range Rover talking to a friend on Friday night.
This was shortly after he left his offices at Steve Biko Academic Hospital where he headed the dermatology department.
After pulling him from the vehicle and dumping him in the road, the gunmen forced his friend from the car before racing off, later abandoning it in Atteridgeville.
The murder has shattered his family. They say that since childhood all that Moche – who was internationally recognised – wanted to do was to be a doctor and to save lives.
“It was in his blood. It was a calling and he wanted to help South Africa. He wanted to build this country into a better place and put his all into improving health care in this country.
“He put his all into helping young people reach their dreams of becoming doctors. From tutoring to other forms of assistance, he was determined to make sure South Africa got the best doctors.
“He was a role model for many young people from our home in Marapyane outside Hammanskraal, with many following in my brother’s footsteps to become doctors,” said his brother, Simon Moche.
Moche said his brother, who was married with three children, ensured that everyone had the right to access good, quality health care.
“From when we were children growing up, John was always playing doctor. He was never a clock-watching doctor.
“He was always on duty and it didn’t matter who needed his help he would always give it.
“He worked at 1 Military Hospital and during the Soccer World Cup he helped one of Fifa’s vice-presidents when he needed medical assistance.
“A true servant of the people and a philanthropist who would only charge people if they could afford it, he served South Africa with distinction.
“That is all that he ever wanted to do and now this has been done.
“Those who have done this have not just robbed our family of a loving, kind, caring, humble and dedicated family member, but the whole country,” he said.
Calling for the reintroduction of the death penalty, Moche said there was no respect for South Africa’s laws.
“Crime doesn’t know race. Criminals don’t know race. The criminals are in charge. They are the heroes. This is the poison of South Africa, where the constitution and the country’s laws mean nothing,” Moche said.
The Gauteng health department said it was shocked by the murder.
Health MEC Ntombi Mekgwe and department head Nomonde Xundu sent their condolences to Moche’s family.
“We call on residents to assist the police in their investigations and to ensure that the perpetrators are arrested,” the MEC said.
Moche was also mourned by his colleagues at the hospital, including chief executive, Dr Ernest Kenoshi. He described him as a hard working professional and a good friend.
Dr Mahlane Phalane, South African Medical Association spokesman, slammed the killing.
“These senseless killings and attacks are a huge problem and make it extremely difficult for us to do our work.
“These men have robbed the country of a person who was heavily involved in the bettering of the lives of all South Africans.
“It will take decades to replace someone like this. The damage that has been done to the health care of this country can never be undone,” he said.
Dr Poppy Ramathuba, national chairwoman of the Public Sector Doctors, said the death was a huge loss.
“Surely a person’s life cannot simply be reduced to the price of a car?
“What exactly is it the nation wants when the very same people who did this are the ones who complain about the lack of health care.
“This is a person who was an academic, who was responsible for producing specialists which we as a country simply do not have.
“He was an academic rather than open his own practice to treat the affluent and rich.
“Instead he opted to treat people who simply cannot access private health care.
“We as a country have been robbed of someone who is irreplaceable,” she said.
Gauteng police spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Lungelo Dlamini said no arrests had been made.
He said the murder happened as Moche sat in his car talking to a friend.
“The victim was the only person who was shot during the attack.
“The suspects fled with the vehicle which they later abandoned in Atteridgeville.
“All of the victim’s personal items have been found.
“Because the friend was so traumatised, police have been unable to take a statement from her. This will be done later this week,” he said.
The motive was believed to be armed robbery, he said.
Moche’s memorial service will be held at Steve Biko Academic Hospital at 12.30pm on Thursday.
He will be buried in Marapyane on Saturday at 7am. - Pretoria News
Naki& Tendi, wrote
May your soul be laid to rest Dr. Moche you'll always be remembered fo your gentle heart your otstanding personality, he knew the true meaning of bathopele.You were the grace that placed itself where lives were torn apart. My Condolences to the family.
Dr Moshe was one of the few best Dr's ive consulted with. this really saddens me and I still cant get over the shock, i just wish i never happened, not this way. i consulted with him 2ce in Carstenhof and was de for another consultation only to find out he's gone. My condolences to the family, he really didnt deserve to go like this. May his soul rest in peace, he will be missed.
Z n Y , wrote
Rest In Peace Dr Moche, our family will always remeber your warmth and kindness. Condolences to the family
What a messed up world we live in. Such a wonderful, well respected, committed and humble academic human being. Truly its a big loss to this country. We will always remember him for his great work. We were expecting even more great things from him. May his soul rest in peace and all my condolences goes to the Moche family.
Rest in peace qhawe la maqhawe. You will be solemnly missed by your family,colleagues, friends and the community at large. You did not deserve to go like this
The loss of Dr John Moche is a loss to all South Africans. What an outstanding young individual. Condolences to his family. Ingrid (Scotland) Ex Cape Town
Yes....and the family will continue to vote ANC...and this country will continue to deteriate and crime will continue to grow...... WAKE UP SA!!!!!!!!!!!!!! before you too have to loose a loved one!!!! my sincere condolences to his family....he sure does seem like a great man......a terrible sad loss for SA. May the flesh from those bastards burn for every tear shed!!!!!
boeba safedien, wrote
My condolenses to the Moche family. yes and i fully agree we need to reinstate the Death penalty.
they can start by refusing to help injured criminals when shotstabbed etc.
Another outcry ... like so many before it will end soon but the crime will go on. We have a huge shortage of skilled doctors and other skills, yet everyday valuable members of society are killed while criminals rule the streets.
I was also shot by robbers in my surgery working as a GP. The situation is extremely bad for medical professionals. I am now too old to emigrate and work overseas, but I regret I didn't leave whilst I had the chance.
Clair Lear, wrote
Such a loss for our wonderful country
How tragic that the Medical Profession has lost such a great man who served humanity selflessly. The medical care is in a mess in this country and we need people like him desperately. To his family my very deepest sympathy to his cold blooded killers may you rot in hell you stinking cowards!!!
I disagree. the field of forensics has come on a great deal and no-one is saying every criminal must be put to death but the most serious criminals (cold blooded killers & brutal rapists) who will never positively contribute to society. I suspect you would change your tune when your loved ones get slaughtered.
"The mind sees what the heart wants to believe". The death penalty will not stop crime. It is a flawed system because the people who run the system are not perfect and make mistakes. One cannot have juries who make decisions on emotions instead of intellect. And how many will have to be executed to get rid of all the murderers running around the country?? It will take generations to teach the young people to develop moral character and integrity. In the mean time, put those who do have, and there are some, in positions of power instead of the bunch of crooks you have now.
RIP Dr, Moche. Since the Dr was such a very nice person helping everyone all the times, i think he was also helping a friend like alwys...its so unfortunate condolences to his family.
let it be Mr. JZ's Family then you will see what will happen next.
Crime is cripling this beautiful country of ours and we need to do something quick. As many others, I firmly believe that the death penalty should be implemented. In this country, we tend to think more about the well being of the purpetrators rather than the victim. How many more innocent lives must be lost before our lawmakers relaize this.
What a tragedy for us all ..... when is this government going to have the guts to reinstate the death penalty !!!!
As a health care professional and a professional nurse as well my hear goes out to the family of Dr Moche. The hijackings are depriving needy South Africans of people who want to make a difference in other people's lives. Nursing and medicine is a calling and those who do it for money are not committed. I request the SAPS to do all in their powers to dedicate time to this case and find the killers. In this case a death penalty must be granted because by killing one medical doctor is one too many, a total of 25 000 patients per year are now denied an opportunity to be treated and receive specialised care!!