PRETORIA - Civil rights movement #NotInMyName on Thursday called on newly appointed Health Minister Zweli Mkhize to urgently intervene at the "notorious" Mamelodi Day Hospital whose staff have been accused of ill-treating 76-year-old Martha Marais.
Images of Marais tied to hospital benches of the waiting area at Mamelodi Day Hospital in Pretoria went viral, sparking massive condemnation of the hospital by social media users.
#NotInMyName secretary general Themba Masango said the Mamelodi hospital was notorious for poor treatment of patients.
"We hope that the new health minister intervenes urgently to fix the horrors at this hospital," Masango said.
"We will not sit back and watch our senior citizens being abused by the very people who are employed to take care of them."
"We call on all forward thinking Mamelodians and people in surrounding areas to stand up and condemn this inhumane treatment of our people at the Mamelodi 'Death' Hospital," Masango said.
Just hours into his appointment as Health Minister, Zweli Mkhize on Thursday expressed shock over the ill-treatment of Marais.
Department of health spokesperson Popo Maja said Mkhize and the new Gauteng Health MEC Bandile Masuku have "expressed outraged" at the incident.
"The MEC and the head of Gauteng Health are currently at the Mamelodi Hospital to establish circumstances surrounding the brutal treatment of this elderly patient at the hospital.
"The MEC visited the hospital to demand answers from the hospital management and also to give support to the patient and ensure that she received quality care," Maja said.
"We must maintain dignity of our patients and our officials should maintain high level of professionalism. At face value, it appears that the patient was ill-treated and the standard operating procedure was not followed to the letter."
Maja said both Mkhize and Masuku have called for a full investigation and said that officials who were involved in the incident must be stopped from interacting with the patients.
"Consequence management should be implemented with immediate effect. The ministry of health reiterates that the substandard services and ill-treatment of vulnerable members of our society who depend on (the) public health system during their weakest moments should not be tolerated," Maja said.
"A central focus of the sixth administration will be to improve patients' experience of care and strengthen front line service for the betterment of the millions who depend on us."
Marais was referred by the Eersterust clinic to Mamelodi Day Hospital as she needed urgent medical attention.
The hospital caters for patients from Mamelodi, Nellmapius, Eersterust, East Lynne, Cullinan, Pretoria East, Nkangala and Bronkhorstspruit.