The Democratic Alliance (DA) today calls on KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) Health MEC, Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu and her new HOD Dr Sandile Tshabalala to act without further delay to ensure the safety of healthcare workers – in particular female staff – who are working in fear at KwaMsane Clinic in northern KZN.
The DA’s call follows reports of a yet another violent incident at the clinic, allegedly in early September, which saw two female nurses assaulted. According to reports, the nurses were assaulted by the parent of a minor patient who was brought in with a fever. This after they were allegedly busy with an emergency and told the two men who brought the child in to wait.
At this point the men allegedly became violent, overturning bins and eventually assaulting the nurses. Despite four security guards being on duty, no one was able to stop the attack. Charges have since been laid with the police.
The DA is extremely concerned by yet another report of violence at this clinic. We strongly condemn such behaviour, which is made all the more alarming by the fact that it took place within one of our health facilities, was against women and that it was against nurses who were trying to conduct their duties.
Of equal concern is that the MEC and her Department are yet to act despite the fact that there have been numerous similar attacks and assault of health personnel at this particular clinic.
In June, clinic staff wrote to MEC Simelane-Zulu to request that she and her Department intervene. Despite the situation having reached boiling point, there has been no response to date. In fact, neither the MEC nor her HOD have even visited the clinic and according to sources within the clinic, when the issues were raised with the uMkhanyekude Health District manager, staff were threatened that they would lose their jobs if they took any further action.
The lack of response by the nearby KwaMsane police station is also extremely concerning with the DA’s sources stating that they are always given the same excuse of a lack of vehicles when they call for assistance and that even when the accused are known, they are not arrested and cases are not investigated further.
Where the DA governs in the Western Cape, there is a coordinated security plan for all health facilities to prevent such attacks. This includes a liaison between the facility, SAPS, security companies and the surrounding community.
The DA expects MEC Simelane-Zulu to act without delay in the interests of healthcare workers at KwaMsane and to provide them with a safe working environment. This must include additional security measures, particularly at night and when an all-female staff is on duty. If necessary, security staff must also be rotated to allow for this.
The DA will continue to monitor this issue in the interests of workers as well as the surrounding community who also have the right to being treated in a safe environment.