The Chris Hani Baragwanath, Charlotte Maxeke and Helen Joseph hospitals have banned night visits to patients as hospital staff fear for their safety.
According to the Sunday Times, visitors had been turned away. Some camped outside the hospitals, waiting for the gates to open for day visits.
The move came after a series of attacks on doctors and nurses, despite the health department paying millions for security for each hospital.
Dr Richard Nethononda of the Baragwanath Doctors' Forum told the Sunday Times that doing away with the night visits was not the solution. "People work, so getting time off [to visit patients during the day] is not always possible. We need to be flexible," he said.
The Democratic Alliance criticised the hospitals for spending large sums of money on unproductive security systems. "The health department spends about R140-million a year on hospital security, but gets poor value from security companies who don't do a proper job," DA spokesperson Jack Bloom said in a statement.
He said despite security shortfalls, the hospitals continued to renew contracts of security companies who failed to deliver.
"Corruption is suspected in the award of the contracts, which are being investigated by the Special Investigating Unit," he added.
The health department could not be reached for comment. – Sapa