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Pretoria - Security at Dr George Mukhari Hospital in Ga-Rankuwa remains precarious - with allegations that security guards operate with eight defective metal detectors - which could have been a factor in the shooting of a woman on Saturday.
Hospital staff said they felt that their lives were at risk after a man, 40, shot a woman, 24, in the back in the casualty ward at the hospital.
The Health Department conceded the assailant was not searched to detect concealed dangerous weapons as he appeared to be in “a state of panic”.
Naledi Kotswane is alleged to have shot a 5-year-old girl and the hospital victim’s 7-year-old son a day before the hospital shooting. He appeared in the Ga-Rankuwa Magistrate’s Court on Monday on three charges of attempted murder. His case was postponed to June 30.
Police said the children and the women were still in hospital.
Health Department spokesman Prince Hamnca said the man had apparently told security staff he was the father of the children who had been shot and admitted to the hospital, so they let him in.
Security guards deployed at the hospital’s main entrance and exit gates had metal detectors to conduct spot-checks, Hamnca said. However, a Pretoria News team entered the hospital on Monday without being searched for dangerous weapons.
The team asked two nurses about Saturday’s shooting. Reluctant to speak, and refusing to be identified because they were not authorised to speak to the media, the nurses said everyone at the hospital was badly affected by the incident, and thank-ful that nobody else was injured.
“Everyone is traumatised, especially the staff who was working,” one said. “There was very little security could’ve done to stop it because they don’t have guns.”
After entering the hospital, the Pretoria News spoke to a workers’ representative who was part of the team investigating the incident. She emphasised the lack of security but also questioned the competency of the guards hired by the companies contracted to the hospital. “How can they keep people safe when all they have are eight defective metal detectors? Earlier, we saw a guard with a detector but he wasn’t using it while allowing people to enter.”
She said some nurses were too traumatised to return to work. Some security guards said they were underpaid and thus not inspired to do their jobs properly, she added. Efforts to speak to Ka-Lethabo Trading security operations manager Victor Walters proved fruitless.