Health MEC condemns religious intolerance

2017-02-16 06:02

THE KZN MEC for the Department of Health Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo condemned the incident that happened at Northdale Hospital where a hospital operations manager was subjected to religious discrimination for keeping Hindu artefacts in a hospital cupboard.

Dhlomo said in a statement the department was concerned about the damning allegations that surfaced.
The department said in a statement that Hindus worldwide are upset over labelling Hinduism as witchcraft by a Pietermaritzburg hospital.

It alleged that a hospital CEO summoned seven officials to accompany her to inspect the cupboard of the operational manager on 31 January.

It alleged the victim was instructed to open a cupboard where a box containing several religious artefacts was removed. These included, among others, a framed religious photograph, a statue, an incense stick and money.

Dhlomo said he fully concurs with the position taken by the department that this incident warrants a full investigation and was satisfied it has already been initiated.

“The department wishes to assure the public that this was an isolated incident, and the matter will be fully investigated. If any individual is found guilty of contravening another’s constitutional rights, they will be subjected to the most appropriate sanction allowed by law.

“We, in the same vein, wish to remind government employees that in the course of their duty they are at all times expected to respect and abide by the Constitution of South Africa.
“The department fully upholds the rights of all citizens to follow and practice a religion of their choice, so long as such rights do not interfere with operations in the workplace.”

Deputy chairperson of the Tongaat Hindu Unity Forum Sugie Govender said: “It is sad that in the 22 years of democracy we still have such kinds of religious intolerance in our community.
“People are not informed about the significance of these deities and idols and become intolerant towards another person’s religion. [For] a person, who observes the Hindu religion, these things have a lot of meaning and helps them to transform to become a better person. People fail to see how these things help us to become better human beings.”

A devotee from Shree Gopal Lal Hindu Temple in Verulam Michell Sheomungul said: “There is no place for religious intolerance against any ethnic group in a community that has been living in a democracy for the past 22 years.
“If any individual is ignorant of other person’s faith and beliefs, then such opinions and comments should be kept to themselves. We cannot, as a society and country, progress and move forward if people continue to be prejudiced.”

If any individual is found guilty of contravening another’s Constitutional rights, they will be subjected to the most appropriate sanction allowed by law.

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