An Eastern Cape health worker was nabbed at the weekend for allegedly attempting to steal eight boxes of personal protective equipment (PPE).
Spotted by a vigilant security guard as he was about to leave the Frontier Hospital in Komani on Saturday, the man was arrested and detained by the police.
He is expected to appear in court soon.
The accused was one of hundreds of people the provincial government had roped in to help fight the spread of Covid-19.
Eastern Cape health MEC Sindiswa Gomba thanked all security guards for carrying out their duties well.
“Had it not been for the vigilance of the security guard, the worker would have succeeded in stealing the PPE,” Gomba said.
“We condemn such thievery with the contempt it deserves.
“By stealing the PPE, the worker was leaving front-line workers like nurses and doctors defenceless against this vicious virus that has already killed 8,662 people in the Eastern Cape.”
Gomba called on the criminal justice system to make an example out of the arrested man.
“Having workers steal the very same PPE meant to protect them flies in the face of saving lives and exposes them to the virus.
“When workers steal the PPE, it may result in a shortage and one life lost is one too many.
“This is why we are calling on the justice system to impose a harsh sentence if [the man is] found guilty, to deter other would-be thieves.”
Gomba felt that stealing PPE was tantamount to murder. –