Newly appointed Limpopo nurse assaulted, robbed and raped while going to work
A newly appointed Limpopo nurse was kidnapped, robbed and raped on Tuesday while on her way to work at Madumane Clinic in Tzaneen.
Limpopo health MEC Dr Phophi Ramathuba and the Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (Denosa) in Limpopo condemned the incident.
The MEC's spokesperson Thilivhali Muavha said it is alleged the nurse was on her way from home travelling in a taxi to the clinic just after dusk.
“As it was dark, she allegedly requested the taxi driver to drop her at the clinic but the driver refused. A few moments after disembarking, an unknown man accosted her, dragged her into the bush where he assaulted and raped her before making off with her belongings. The victim managed to crawl to nearby households for help,” he said.
The victim was admitted to hospital with a broken leg and underwent an operation.
Ramathuba said such incidents were a serious setback for the department’s efforts to open clinics for 24 hours.
“These issues of gender-based violence and rape are not only a terror for society, but they paint a bad picture about our province. At this rate, we will struggle to get skilled personnel to work in some of our facilities, because it will be seen as a big risk.
“We have just employed an army of nurses, with most placed in primary healthcare facilities with the intention to restore the 24-hour function, but issues of crime on healthcare workers have been a big threat. We condemn this act and call on community members to help the police arrest this criminal,” she said.
According to Denosa Limpopo secretary Jacob Molepo, after the driver refused to drop her off near the clinic, a fellow taxi passenger, a man, disembarked and allegedly convinced the nurse he would accompany her as he lives in the area.
“Not long after the taxi left them, the man allegedly advised that they take a 'shortcut' so they could get to the clinic quicker and avoid dangerous areas in the township. Unknowingly, the nurse followed the man who started dragging her to a dark spot where he raped her, assaulted her and took her belongings. He then fled.”
Molepo said the nurse, with a broken leg, dragged herself to the community where she asked for help.
He called on the department to ensure the nurse gets counselling after she has been discharged from hospital.
Molepo also called on police to expedite the investigation to ensure the perpetrator is apprehended.
“Denosa calls on community members to start protecting the image of their community as this incident is likely to scare more nurses away from the facilities in the area. Already, there are many clinics that should be operating for 24 hours, but due to how dangerous the areas have become it is impossible to expose healthcare workers to the ruthlessness of criminals who rule the communities,” he said.
Attacks on nurses deprive the community of healthcare services they should have access to at all times, Molepo said.
“The nurse concerned will be lost to the system, which means about 87 more patients daily may not get the services they would be getting in her presence.”
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