Two arrested for Cape Town health centre theft and vandalism worth R800k

Two men were arrested in connection with a burglary and vandalism at Kensington Community Day Centre in Cape Town, which left the health facility only able to offer minimal services.

Walk-in patients have been triaged and referred to Maitland Community Day Centre and surrounding facilities since the crime over the weekend of May 3 to 5.

"All electronic and medical equipment including non-medical items were stolen or damaged, and therefore, services cannot operate optimally," Western Cape government health spokesperson Monique Johnstone told News24 on Monday.

"We are deeply distressed by the lack of respect shown towards healthcare and we applaud the police for their quick response in finding the perpetrators and retrieving a few of the stolen items."

The total theft and damages incurred amounted to around R800 000, authorities said.

The men, 33 and 45, were recently arrested and charged for business burglary.

Police officers confiscated computer equipment, a heart machine, boxes of scissors, memory sticks and milk during their arrests, said police spokesperson Captain FC van Wyk.

A Renault Transporter, allegedly used during the crimes, was also seized.

They appeared in the Cape Town Magistrate's Court on Monday, where bail was opposed, said Van Wyk.

It is not immediately clear when they will next appear.

Four other suspects were identified and would be arrested after evidence linking them to the crimes was collected.

Johnstone said only the chronic dispensing unit was operational for patients to collect their pre-packed medication at the facility.

"Maintenance work due to damages done to the infrastructure, assessment of items stolen, and damages incurred, procurement of new equipment and IT cables and the procurement of added security is underway," she said.

Medical emergencies will be diverted to Vanguard Community Health Centre until further notice.

She thanked residents for their patience and promised to provide further updates.

Mark van der Heever, provincial health's deputy director of communications, welcomed quick work by police.

He urged residents to work with the department in looking after facilities and equipment.