File picture: Independent Media

Tzaneen - A general practitioner accused of raping a 17-year-old patient during a medical consultation at his surgery has appeared in court and been remanded in custody.

The 52-year-old doctor, who has a medical practice in a township in Tzaneen in Limpopo province, appeared briefly in the Nkowankowa Magistrate Court on Thursday on charges of raping a minor.

The doctor was arrested by Ritavi police on Tuesday. According to Limpopo police spokesperson, Colonel Moatshe Ngoape, this was after he was accused by a minor patient of having violated her during a consultation.

“It is alleged that on Monday (9 October) at about 4pm, a 17-year-old girl went to the suspect’s surgery in Nkowankowa Township for a consultation,” said Ngoepe.

“On arrival, she was called into the consultation room and the suspect started examining her and during the process, he is alleged to have raped her. The matter was later reported to the police, who reacted swiftly and started with their investigations. The suspect was arrested the next day.”

This is the second time the doctor has been accused of rape. In 2012 he was accused of raping an 18-year-old girl in his consulting room.

The Health Professions Council South Africa (HPCSA) said they are concerned with the rape allegations levelled against the medical doctor and will investigate the matter.

HPCSA spokesperson Priscilla Sekhonyana said “The Health Professions Council of South Africa has a responsibility to ensure that it protects the public and guides the profession. The Council takes this responsibility seriously in ensuring optimal health for all people through the provision of safe healthcare.”

“The HPCSA is concerned about the said allegations and it will ensure that it investigates the matter,” said Sekhonyana.

According to the Health Professions Act (56 of 1974), if the doctor is convicted on the rape charges he could be suspended from practising.

The doctor is scheduled to appear again at Nkowankowa Magistrate court on October 17. 

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