Pretoria – The father of a 2-year-old Pretoria girl who was raped, allegedlywhile in isolation at the Dr George Mukhari Academic Hospital, on Friday appealed to the nation to help him find justice for his daughter, who he said has been damaged.
“When I walked in to pick up my daughter after she was discharged by the hospital, her bed was a mess with oats all over her. I heard the hospital CEO (Dr Richard Lebethe) saying that my daughter had been washed and fed in the morning, that is a lie. My child was actually dirty when I picked her up from this hospital,” the father of the toddler told a crowd of #NotInMyName activists picketing at the hospital.
“From the time I saw her in hospital, while her mother was barred from entering the hospital because of Covid-19 regulations, I could tell that my child was not right. Even the way my child was sleeping was very strange. She had traces of tears that had dried up on her face. I fetched her and brought her to her mother who was waiting at the gate on June 16.”
The father – who may not be identified, to protect the minor involved – said his family has become “fed up” with the way the hospital has been treating them.
A #NotInMyName activist raises a placard outside Dr George Mukhari Academic Hospital, north of Pretoria, on Friday. Activists staged a picket to protest against the alleged rape of a 2-year-old at the hospital. Photo: Jonisayi Maromo/African News Agency
In an emotional message, the father said he will fight the hospital until justice is served for his daughter.
“I’m appealing to the nation, I’m begging fellow South Africans – please help me, my daughter deserves justice. Please help me because my daughter has been damaged by someone at this hospital. Even now, she is not herself,” said the father, speaking to African News Agency at the protest.
“One would believe my family would be provided some form of counselling after this. I am not saying I need counselling, but I think my wife and child need it urgently. We have not received any help, except for the calls that are now coming after this matter was published in the media. We are now constantly asked if we are okay. We thank the Gauteng MEC Nomathemba Mokgethi who visited our home and promised psychological support.”
The father said that when they arrived home from picking up their daughter, who had spent a night in the hospital, an aunt noticed that the 2-year-old “was not herself” and displayed difficulty walking.
“At around 7pm, when the mother changed the pampers (nappies) which my child had been wearing from Dr George Mukhari Hospital, she noticed whitish stuff coming out of the child’s private parts. That whitish stuff was also on the pampers the child was wearing. The mother presumed that it was medication and she did not rush to tell me. The day she finally told me, and examined the child’s private parts closely, she called me to rush and see,” the father narrated.
“When I got home, I went into the room to inspect my child, and guess what, her private parts had such an opening as if she was an adult. I cannot forget that.”
The father said they took the child to a nearby clinic, but the clinic referred them back to Dr George Mukhari Academic Hospital.
At the hospital, he said medical staff told him they needed police to be present.
“The police were called, and for hours they did not come. We left the hospital and went to Ga-Rankuwa police station, begging them to help us. As we got to the hospital, we were given such a negative attitude, you would think the police officers had been tipped to treat us badly. Then the hospital called to say we must come back. We waited in the police station for hours,” he said.
“The police at Ga-Rankuwa simply told us that they were changing their shifts and we had to wait. In that police station there was a gentleman who told us he had been waiting since 3pm to get service. I thought their shift changed only at 6pm, but the time was around 5pm.”
#NotInMyName founder and president Siyabulela Jentile leads a picket on Friday at the Dr George Mukhari Academic Hospital, north of Pretoria, where a child was allegedly raped. Photo: Jonisayi Maromo/African News Agency (ANA)
#NotInMyName founder and president Siyabulela Jentile said his organisation would continue to apply pressure until the perpetrator was behind bars.
The SAPS in Gauteng on Monday said it had launched an investigation into the allegations that the 2-year-old had been molested while in isolation for Covid-19, as well as allegations that the police gave the family the run-around when they tried to open a case at Ga-Rankuwa police station.
“The management of the SAPS in Gauteng has noted the allegations and views them in a very serious light. The acting provincial commissioner of the SAPS in Gauteng, Major-General Johan Ndlovu, has sanctioned an urgent departmental investigation into these allegations.
A #NotInMyName activist raising a placard outside the Dr George Mukhari Hospital in Pretoria north of Pretoria. Picture: Jonisayi Maromo/African News Agency
"The outcome of this internal investigation will guide what happens next,” Gauteng SAPS spokesperson Brigadier Mathapelo Peters said.
“We can confirm at this point that a case of rape of a minor was opened at Ga-Rankuwa and the investigation is receiving priority attention in line with the SAPS's resolve to prioritise the investigation of crimes against women and children.”