Durban - A 17-year-old girl, who was hospitalised for depression and anxiety, was allegedly raped by a contractor at Life Chatsmed Hospital.
The man is an electroencephalogram (EEG, which measures brain activity) technician who works for a private company based in uMhlanga. The company contracts services to the hospital.
On Monday, the man, 22, appeared in the Chatsworth Magistrate’s Court on allegations of rape and sexual assault. He cannot be named at this point.
The incident is alleged to have happened in August.
It is claimed the man was alone in a room with the teenager. While conducting the test, he drew the curtain and acted inappropriately.
Shaida Banoo, an attorney acting for the accused, said the State’s evidence against her client was weak and that he intended to plead not guilty.
In a statement read out by Banoo, the accused focused on his personal circumstances to motivate for bail.
He said he was the sole breadwinner in his family and they survived on his salary of R6000 a month and any further commission he earned.
“My mother suffers from asthma, uncontrolled diabetes, and is blind in one eye. My father has spondylosis (degenerative changes in the spine) which renders him unfit to work.
“I have a risk of losing my job. Even though my superior has provided me with a character reference to assist in my case, they still require me to practice.
“Presently, I am not allowed to practise at Life Chatsmed Hospital. This will jeopardise the income of the firm and they will have no option but to replace me.”
The accused, who has no previous convictions or pending cases, said he had emotional and family ties to the community and was not a flight risk.
Avinash Gangai, the State prosecutor, did not oppose bail but called for stringent conditions.
Magistrate ZE Zondi said: “The accused is to ensure that at all times, while carrying out the tasks of his profession, in so far as they relate to him being in the presence of a patient of any gender, that he is accompanied by another adult, who will supervise over his interaction with (the) said patient.
“He must also communicate to the investigating officer all details, referring to the venue and (the) time of the interaction with the patients.”
The accused was cautioned not to interfere with witnesses and/or the investigation.
The man was released on R3000 bail and the case adjourned to November.
Musa Madonsela, the hospital manager at Life Chatsmed Hospital, said they were disturbed and saddened by the alleged sexual assault.
“Our absolute priority at all times is the well-being and safety of our patients, our employees, and all others associated with our facilities. We are, therefore, very concerned that an incident of this nature took place in our hospital.
“At the time the incident was reported to us, our sympathies went out to the patient and her family and we remain available to the patient for any further support that may be required.”
Madonsela said the hospital had zero-tolerance for any conduct which contravened its code of ethics.
He added that the code of ethics was designed to safeguard the interests and integrity of their patients, doctors, and employees.
“Our care philosophy is underpinned by our overall value sentiment of respect and empathy for those entrusted to our care and their families.
“We have stringent security and safety policies in place and have taken the necessary measures to review and improve these as a result of the incident.
“The assailant in question is not employed by the hospital and his contractual services were immediately suspended on the day the incident was reported to hospital management.
“We continue to co-operate with the local SAPS in their independent investigation and the subsequent legal process.”
Madonsela added that the matter was sub judice and they could not divulge further information.