Robbers target hospital –again

The Retreat Community Health Centre is offering limited services following a robbery.

Services at Retreat Community Health Centre (CHC), better known as the day hospital, were limited following a robbery at the facility – the second in less than a month.

A security guard was held up at gunpoint at the facility and handcuffed to the fence at about midnight on Saturday January16 and two people were robbed of their cellphones and money.

As a result, the centre’s operating hours were changed from a 24-hour service to only operating from 7am to 5pm on Sunday and Monday January 18 with only the maternity ward that operated the normal 24 hours.

All emergency services between the period of the closures were temporarily diverted to Victoria Hospital.This follows an incident on Christmas evening when a group of men robbed staff and patients at the centre.

Provincial Department of Health spokesperson, Natalie Watlington, said the department and staff are deeply distressed at the criminal attack on security staff and the community: “This continues to add additional psychological trauma and strain on our staff, who continue to fight the pandemic during this second wave of Covid-19.”

She apologised for the inconvenience to patients.Henry Moses, chairperson of the Retreat CHC Health Committee, said the organisation is disappointed to see that the clinic has been robbed for a second time.

“As a community we need to rally together to show that we will no longer tolerate this behaviour. It is not right that staff and security must endure this type of behaviour,” said Mr Moses.

Mark Solomons, from the Retreat Steenberg Civic Association, condemned the attack: “We are in the process of partnering with the facility in their efforts to strengthen and sustain security measures and appeal to our community to roll up their sleeves and join us in doing so. Without this facility in our community, many members of our community will suffer”.

Steenberg police spokesperson, Sergeant Wesley Twigg, said a case of robbery had been reported and is being investigated.

In the previous incident, a case of trespassing was also opened. No arrests have been made in either case.

Anyone with more information about either robberies are requested to call Steenberg police station on 021 702 9000 or Crime Stop on 08600 10111.