Armed robbers hold up patient and staff at Life Westville Hospital

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Four men, at least one of them armed, stormed the Life Westville Hospital holding up the security guards, staff member and a patient waiting to be admitted before robbing them and stealing two televisions, according to a Daily News report. The incident occurred at 5 am and took less than a minute.

The report quotes a source as saying that 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 guards’ cellphones. A staff member behind the counter and a patient who was waiting to be admitted were robbed off their cellphones and cash.

The report says some of the patients and staff fled when the men arrived. The guards were unarmed.

Police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbele said that 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 remove two TV’s from the wall and robbed the patients of their cellphones and cash,” Mbele said.

The report says a case of robbery was opened at Westville police station for investigation.

Atish Maharaj, Life Westville Hospital’s 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. Various items such as hospital TVs were stolen,” Maharaj said.

The report says the lack of police crime intelligence units to curtail armed robbery syndicates has been blamed for this morning’s robbery at Life Westville Hospital. Mary de Haas, a KwaZulu-Natal violence monitor, said the police crime intelligence unit needs a major shakeup and audit to stop gangs, carrying firearms, from conducting brazen robberies. De Haas said every police station were supposed to have informers and 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 is quoted in the report as saying.

Daily News report

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