Mpumalanga – The Hawks have arrested a nurse after he was allegedly found demanding money to perform an abortion when the procedure is normally done for free at public health facilities.
The provincial Department of Health has called for serious action to be taken against the nurse who worked at the SEAD Clinic in Bethal. The arrest was made on July 2.
It is alleged that a woman who wanted to terminate her pregnancy sought the service at the clinic. The nurse told her to pay R700. She reported it to the police, who then set a trap. The woman returned to the clinic with the money, all marked bills. After he took the cash, the Hawks swept in and took the man into custody.
Health MEC Sasekani Manzini says: “I am very disappointed [about] the illegal acts of the professional nurse. The department’s mandate is to serve the public with health services at no cost. We don’t have a policy [where people pay for] pregnancy termination.
"I would like to thank the patient who reported the matter for her bravery. What happened is seriously unacceptable and action must be taken if the employee is found guilty. We cannot allow such illegal acts to spread in our health facilities.”
Manzini is also urging the community to report such incidences. “We cannot allow situations where our people are deprived of the services that we as government [are providing for] free. I urge people to come forward and speak out about any ill-discipline of our workers so that we are able to curb bad habits.”
Bethal resident, Thandiwe Ndaba, is questioning how a professional nurse could do this in a government facility without anyone knowing. “I believe someone in the facility knew about this crime, but they failed to report it because they were getting something from the accused. Those people must also be held accountable because if not, more nurses will continue committing these sorts of crime.”
She adds: “The Department of Health is playing with our intelligence, and now because the nurse is arrested, they’re making a noise.”
Beatrice Zulu, another Bethal resident, shares a similar sentiment. “Now because the Hawks are involved, we are being asked to come forward, but where was the MEC when young women were forced to pay for a free service?”
“If this crime has been happening under the nose of the clinic manager, what else is going on in this facility that we’re not being told of? It’s clear that the health system is failing us because when we complain about these issues, the provincial office doesn’t do anything to address the problems,” Zulu adds.
The department and the clinic have both started internal investigations.