Home News Safety under spotlight after “hit” at city hospital

Safety under spotlight after “hit” at city hospital


Deon Mkhwanazi, 38, was shot dead at close range in his bed in Ward A2 at approximately 3.50am on Friday morning.

The MEC for Health, Maruping Lekwene, with the MEC for Transport, Safety and Liaison, Nomandla Bloem, and the acting Provincial Commissioner of the Northern Cape, Major-General Phiwe Mnguni, during an oversight visit at Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe Hospital on Sunday. Picture: Soraya Crowie

THE SAFETY of staff and patients at Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe Hospital (RMSH) in Kimberley came under the spotlight on Sunday when the Northern Cape MEC for Health, Maruping Lekwene, and the MEC for Transport, Safety and Liaison, Nomandla Bloem, conducted an oversight visit to the facility following Friday’s fatal shooting of a patient.

Deon Mkhwanazi, 38, was shot dead at close range in his bed in Ward A2 at approximately 3.50am on Friday morning.

It is believed that four suspects, apparently dressed in personal protective equipment (PPE), walked straight to the ward where Mkhwanazi was being treated. Upon entering the ward, they went up to his bed, which was at the end of the room, and shot him once in the presence of other patients.

The bullet reportedly hit him just below the eye and exited through his skull.

It is believed that the suspects entered through the closed main door, proceeded to unplug the telephone in the reception room and then entered the doctor’s room, where they held three nurses hostage.

The nurses were busy preparing for their morning rounds when the suspects entered and apparently instructed the staff to kneel down and be quiet as they were there to “finish their job”.

The interim CEO of RMSH, Alister Kantani, indicated that the doors to the ward were closed but were not locked.

The patients who were present during the shooting were left traumatised and many requested to be discharged following the incident.

The hospital stated that a dedicated team was set up to provide counselling and the necessary support to the affected patients and staff.

It was highlighted on Sunday that Mkhwanazi’s neighbouring patient was still reeling from the incident and suffering nightmares, but could not be moved to another ward as there was no other Covid-free ward on that floor.

Mkhwanazi made headlines in 2015 when he was found not guilty and acquitted of the murder of local funeral undertaker Wilco Motlhatledi.

The judgment by the Northern Cape High Court at the time left many shocked, after Acting Judge Willem Coetzee found Mkhwanazi not guilty of murder, as well as not guilty on two charges related to the Firearms Act.

Mkhwanazi recently survived a shooting incident on August 29. He was admitted to hospital and was in the intensive care unit (ICU) until earlier this week.

On the day of the shooting in August, Mkhwanazi’s mother said that her son was called to come outside the house by someone, after which she heard a loud gunshot.

Mkhwanazi then fled towards the garage in Barkly Road, where he collapsed inside the shop. He was later taken to hospital.

It is believed that he was recovering well from the shooting and that the four suspects had gone to RMSH on Friday to “finish him off”.

MEC Lekwene admitted during Sunday’s oversight visit that there were concerns about safety at RMSH, which needed to be relooked at following the incident.

He indicated that it is still too early to tell whether there was a breach in security as investigations are still under way.

Lekwene avoided commenting on whether the security cameras at the hospital are operational.

According to Lekwene, there was no vehicle recorded as entering the hospital premises through the security gate during the time frame of the shooting.

Lekwene said that the hospital had previously experienced incidents of violence, but not of this nature.

“It looks like a planned hit. They (the suspects) knew exactly where to go and what to do. They went straight to the patient, at a time when no one would suspect. No one expected this to happen,” he said.

He pointed out that the hospital is expected to be an open institution to the public and promised that no stone would be left unturned in the investigation of the case.

He also urged the public to come forward with any information that could lead to the speedy arrests of the suspects.

The department promised to engage with the bereaved family to see where it could assist them.