security scare

Frank Maponya

Frank Maponya

The issue of security at Limpopo hospitals has come under the spotlight again after the rape of a nurse and the assault of another at Sekororo Hospital near Tzaneen this week.

A senior nurse was raped by unknown thugs in the early hours of Monday morning.

The incident happened at the hospital's residences, which are adjacent to the institution.

The nurses live in a compound which was an old building of the hospital.

But the living quarters in the compound are situated some distance apart from one another, to the extent that those occupying them stand a risk of being attacked without the attackers being noticed.

A visit to the residences yesterday showed that the hospital employees are risking their lives by continuing to stay there. There is no security and no one to guard the place at any given time.

During the attack that took place at about 2am on Monday, the thugs allegedly forced open the window of a room belonging to a professional nurse at the hospital.

Her room is situated in an isolated part of the compound. She screamed for help but there was no one to help her.

She was raped and has since taken sick leave, apparently as a result of the trauma she had suffered during the ordeal.

Another victim, Kgakala Thobakgale, escaped with minor injuries at the hands of the same suspects. The 51-year-old nursing sister said she woke up that morning to find a man trying to enter her room.

"I fought back by grabbing the man by his leg which was already inside my room," said Thobakgale.

She said that, upon realising that he was not winning the battle, the man drew out a screwdriver and stabbed her in the head. She bled profusely while screaming for help, she said.

"It was only through the grace of God that I survived the attack. That place is not safe and something must be done before a life is lost," she said.

Thobakgale is currently housed at the nurses' residence inside the hospital and she feels it is safer there than to live in the compound.

Spokesman for the provincial department of health and social development, Phuti Seloba, who was also part of the visit to the hospital, said a security company would be hired to provide security at the premises.

Police spokesman Superintendent Mohale Ramatseba confirmed that they were investigating cases of rape and another of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm.

No one has been arrested yet.

Three months ago, four senior officials were gunned down at the Seshego Hospital near Polokwane by an aggrieved former employee.