Nurses in fear after 'assault'

Alfred Moselakgomo

Alfred Moselakgomo

Three female health employees are traumatised after allegedly being harassed and assaulted by a community member after his sister died at a clinic.

The man, who had brought his sister to the KaNyamazane clinic near Nelspruit in Mpumalanga, accused the nursing staff of taking their time to attend to his relative who died while she was waiting.

Health department spokesman, Mpho Gabashane, said an unknown man brought his sister to the clinic last Tuesday.

He allegedly ordered the nurse on duty to leave everything and attend to the patient he had brought because "she was very sick".

"The nurse refused and said she had to finish with the other patients before attending to his relative," Gabashane said.

"When the nurse attended to the patient, she discovered that the patient had been dead for some hours and accordingly notified the relative.

"This apparently infuriated the man who then manhandled the nurse," he said.

Gabashane said the nurse managed to escape and ran to the police station which is a few metres from the clinic.

"But this person followed her to the police station and unfortunately police could not help the nurse.

"She and her colleagues were traumatised. The nurse has not been able to return to work," he said.

The department has since arranged counselling for all affected employees.

Since the incident, the 24-hour clinic has been forced to close at night after nurses refused to work, saying they feared for their safety.

"The department would like to condemn this barbaric behaviour and call upon the community of KaNyamazane to assist the police with their investigations so that the culprit can be brought to book," Gabashane said.

"We call on the community to play a part in ensuring the safety of our employees who work at night helping the community.

"We are working on a plan to have the clinic operate at night again," he said.

Captain Phillip Fakude of KaNyamazane police confirmed the incident and said a case of common assault was being investigated.