Princess Marina Hospital (PMH) announced on Monday that the hospital has decided to suspend with immediate effect routine patient referrals to all hospitals in South Africa due to the sporadic xenophobia attacks.
According to a statement from the hospital, this was done to safeguard their staff and patients. “We are aware that these attacks are happening in a few areas in South Africa, but can have a ripple effect. However, referral arrangements for patients with life threatening conditions and emergencies will continue. Transportation of patients with the above mentioned conditions has been done to avoid loss of life. Travel arrangements for patients who have been discharged in South African hospitals have been done through health share integrated solutions and the Botswana Consulate in Johannesburg. Private ambulances from South Africa will collect patients at the boarder post or use Medical Rescue International Air support as usual. The same arrangement will be made for discharged patients in South Africa.”
Meanwhile, Government Spokesperson, Dr Jeff Ramsey, said last week that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, through its diplomatic mission in South Africa continues to monitor the situation on the ground. This included a visit by the Education Attaché last week to the Province concerned to check on the status of Batswana students. He said there were no reports of any Batswana affected by the unrest, and stated that Government will continue to monitor the situation from the reported unrest. “In the meantime, Batswana students in the affected areas, as well as Botswana citizens visiting or residing in South Africa are being advised to exercise additional caution,” he said.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation has since advised that Batswana should delay their travel to South Africa until the situation normalizes. As attacks against foreigners and their businesses rage on, killing at least eight people so far, affected African countries like Zimbabwe and Malawi have already made plans to evacuate their people from South Africa.
The latest attack is of one Emmanuel Sithole who is believed to be from Mozambique. According to media reports, after being stalked down a street, taunted and hit with a wrench this weekend, he was cornered by his attackers, stabbed in the heart and left to die on a rubbish-strewn Alexandra street early. He was rushed to the hospital by journalists who were at the scene, and later died from the severe injuries.