Tight security at George Mukhari Hospital as activists protest over toddler’s alleged rape
Pretoria - Several members of the South African Police Service (SAPS) were on Friday morning stationed at the main entrance of the Dr George Mukhari Academic Hospital, north of Pretoria, as civil rights group #NotInMyName was picketing over the alleged rape of a two-year-old at the institution.
“It is sad that in our country these days you open the newspaper and read, while you’re eating your breakfast, and you continue. It cannot be. We cannot continue like that,” said #NotInMyName secretary-general Themba Masango.
“We are very angry right now. We have come to demand answers. We will not leave this place until we get those answers. Where was the hospital CEO and the management?”
Masango said the alleged rape of the two-year-old shows that patients in public hospitals are “exposed to all manner of danger”.
“Today you see dozens of SAPS vans and hospital security guards directing us here. Where were they when a child needed them? They left a child to her own means,” said Masango.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng this week said it was horrified by the alleged rape.
“The hospital CEO Dr Richard Lebethe has now claimed that he only heard about this through the media, although the incident happened in mid-June,” said the DA Gauteng’s Jack Bloom.
“The delays in investigating what happened highlight the failure at various levels to take this seriously. The police are giving poor excuses and the hospital sent the family from pillar to post instead of immediate action. According to the family, the (police's) Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit (FCS) has still not contacted them.”
The family of the two-year-old girl this week spoke to African News Agency in Pretoria, lamenting that the hospital had treated them with disdain after the incident happened in June.
The toddler’s aunt said an untrue narrative was being pushed, purporting that Lebethe had only now learnt about the incident. The aunt said she had been in regular contact with Lebethe, the hospital’s communications desk and other staff, but they could not help the family.
“For the hospital to turn around today and say they do not know about our case, that is a naked lie. The hospital has called me on different occasions. I now know some of their names. They cannot lie about this,” she told African News Agency.
The SAPS in Gauteng on Monday said it had launched investigations into the allegations that a two-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.
"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.”
African News Agency/ANA