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15 March 2017


The Health and Other Service Personnel Trade Union of South Africa (Hospersa) has condemned the rape of a young girl at Dora Nginza Hospital in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape.  The Union calls upon the Minister of Health to urgently address the dismal state of safety and security management at public health institutions in the Eastern Cape.


The 11-year-old girl was abducted from a playground on Saturday.  Her abductor reportedly told security guards at Dora Nginza Hospital gates that he was taking her for medical care.  She was then taken to a toilet in one of the administrative buildings at Dora Nginza Hospital where she was raped and subsequently locked up.  She tried to break out of the toilet and eventually security guards heard her screams and freed her. 


“One can only imagine what it was like for this little girl,” said Hospersa Eastern Cape Provincial Secretary, Lutando Lujabe.  “It must have been a horrific experience and the trauma will probably affect her life for a very long time.  We condemn this act in the strongest terms and we are deeply concerned that such acts can take place at our public health institutions,” Lujabe added.


The 21-year-old suspect was since apprehended by members of the community and handed over to the South African Police Services (SAPS) on Sunday.  He is facing charges of abduction and rape and was to appear in the New Brighton Magistrate’s court yesterday.


Hospersa has had several campaigns surrounding the harrowing state of safety and security management at public hospitals in the country.  While the Esidimeni tragedy and Charlotte Maxeke roof collapse are probably most known, the Eastern Cape seems to be the current hotspot. 


Just last week saw a psychiatric patient dying at Livingstone Hospital (also in Port Elizabeth), and just a week before a nurse was physically attacked by a psychiatric patient.  She had to be rescued by fellow staff members and was admitted to sick bay.  In 2015 a psychiatric patient set himself alight in the ward and ultimately burnt to death.  Patients have also jumped to their death from the fifth floor of the hospital.  The number of incidents in similar scenarios of this nature escalated to a number of twenty.  These patients pose a danger to themselves, fellow patients and employees, especially in light of the nurses having received absolutely no psychiatric training.  Earlier this month Hospersa participated in a sit-in, handing over a memorandum to management, followed by a picket in order to gain public support.


Other incidents in the Eastern Cape over the past weeks include armed robberies at Uitenhage’s Rosedale Clinic and the Kwazakhele Day Hospital in Ibhayi.  In the latter case two armed men stormed into the hospital and held up nurses, demanding money.


“Hospersa will not allow this situation to continue,” said Lujabe.  “Our General Secretary [Noel Desfontaines] met with the Chief Inspector [of the Department of Labour] on Monday to discuss how Hospersa can assist with health and safety compliance – specifically at public health facilities.  Hospersa now calls on the Minister of Health [Dr Aaron Motsoaledi] to intervene urgently so that we may address the health and safety problems faced by the Eastern Cape,” Lujabe concluded.



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For interviews please contact Hospersa EC Provincial Secretary Lutando Lujabe on 063-404-2362.


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