He was allegedly visiting family on a smallholding outside Pretoria on Thursday night when four armed men attacked them.
Drotske's friend, Os du Randt, a teammate of the 1995 RWC champion Springboks side, was also at the house.
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Drotske underwent emergency surgery at the Netcare Montana hospital in Pretoria and his condition was eventually downgraded from critical to stable.
"Naka was shot and is now in critical condition in hospital".
The 47-year-old 1995 World Cup victor was shot in a tussle with one of the assailants. No one else was seriously injured. "We followed all the information that came to us".
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Police, who combed the property Friday seeking forensic evidence, said two men were being questioned in connection with the incident, but had not been arrested.
"There was a struggle whereby one of the men was shot at", a Pretoria police captain told News24.
Drotske, who coached the Cheetahs between 2007 and 2015 after having spent most of his playing career in Bloemfontein, was shot three times, including once in the chest.
Drotske won 26 caps for South Africa, scoring three tries.
London Irish tweeted: "Our thoughts are with former London Irish player Naka Drotske after this shocking news".
"We're just totally shocked and we hope that Naka will recover and that Os is okay ... they are friends and legends of the region".