Doctor accused of kidnapping and terrorising staff over a missing notebook
Durban - A Pietermaritzburg doctor accused of holding employees hostage at her private practice and of ordering armed men to terrorize and torture others over a missing notebook has refuted the allegations, saying “the truth will come out”.
Doctor Bongiwe Constantia Nungu, owner of the Uminathi Medical Centre & Aesthetics Clinic, was granted R20 000 bail this week when she appeared at the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate’s Court.
Nungu said the truth on what transpired on the day in question would soon be revealed and she was confident the matter would be dropped by the court. She claimed the allegations against her were to assassinate her character.
At the centre of the case was a notebook that allegedly went missing but was found and was now part of the police’s investigation.
Nungu was alleged to have interrogated her 10 staff members on the whereabouts of a notebook in October. She locked her premises, searched all bags and confiscated cellphones to check their call histories.
After questioning all the staff, two of them were singled out and were allegedly tortured and when they apparently still claimed to have no knowledge of the notebook, the doctor supposedly took one of them into a room where armed men were waiting.
When the staff denied taking the notebook, Nungu allegedly instructed the men to take the employee with them. They apparently put her in a vehicle and drove around until they came to a secluded area.
The staff claimed the men continued to question her about the notebook and placed a plastic bag over her head. She said one of the men covered her nose and mouth but she was saved when Nungu allegedly called to inform the men that the notebook was found on another employee. She claimed she was then driven back to the practice and threatened with death should she open a case.
Nungu was arrested by the Loop Street police and appeared at the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate’s Court in November facing charges of kidnapping and was released on R10 000 bail.
The case was postponed to December but Nungu failed to appear. She was then ordered to be back at the beginning of February but again there was no sign of her or her legal team.
Last Friday the court issued a warrant for her arrest and ordered that her R10 000 bail be forfeited. Nungu was rearrested and appeared in court on Tuesday where she had to reapply for bail.
“We did not have the correct dates to appear in court, but that has been resolved. I was not running away, I have been operating my practice and attending to my patients,” said Nungu.
“My lawyers have advised me not to divulge much at this stage because the matter is under investigation but the truth will come out at the next appearance.”
Priscilla Sekhonyana, spokesperson for the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA), confirmed Nungu was registered with the HPCSA and a complaint about her alleged conduct was received and an investigation was conducted. She said the matter will be heard before the relevant committee at their next meeting.
Sekhonyana said although Nungu faced criminal charges, she was allowed to continue to practice. Health professionals only ceased to practise once they have been suspended by the council.
“If she is found guilty, council will take the necessary action in terms of Section 45 of the Health Professions Act which stipulates that every registered person who, either, before or after registration, has been convicted of any offence by a court of law, may be dealt with by the professional board in terms of the provisions of this chapter,” she said.
Sergeant Mthokozisi Ngobese of the Loop Street police station said Nungu was the only suspect arrested in the case and she would be back in court next month.