3 in court for Free State doctor rape

2010-11-01 21:07

Bloemfontein - A 16-year-old boy and two men appeared in court at the Mangaung One Stop Youth Centre in Bloemfontein following the rape of a doctor at the Pelonomi regional hospital in Bloemfontein over the weekend.

The two men, aged 24 and 29, and the boy face charges of attempted murder and assault. Their case was postponed to November 9 in the Bloemfontein Magistrate's Court.

The 35-year-old doctor was on duty at the hospital when she was overpowered by three men in a ward at the hospital on Saturday. They allegedly forced her into a room. One of them allegedly hit her over the head with a brick.

She lost consciousness and all three allegedly raped her. Police said one of the three left a wallet at the scene.

The South African Medical Association (Sama) expressed its shock at the attack.

"Sama is deeply shocked by these reports. We once again make it very clear that our members are not safe at public institutions," chair Dr Norman Mabasa said in a statement.

It was a "grim situation" that healthcare workers did not feel safe in institutions of care and were assaulted while carrying out their duties. He called on authorities, once again, to upgrade security in all public institutions for all healthcare workers.

Second attack

The Health Professions Council of South Africa said it was outraged by the crime. Acting registrar and CEO Marella O'Reilly said it was the second attack this year.

Two ambulance staff were attacked a few months ago on Johannesburg's West Rand while attending to an emergency.

"Healthcare practitioners give up their time and risk their safety to help others. It is sad and appalling that heroic individuals become the target of criminals who destroy the fabric of our society."

O'Reilly said there was a concern the attack would affect the profession's ability to attract new staff.

"We already have a shortage of healthcare professionals and the exodus of practitioners to other countries as a result of this type of incident."

The Democratic Alliance in the Free State said it was apparent the health department did not care about the safety of its personnel, after a provincial official admitted security at Pelonomi was poor.

The DA's provincial health spokesperson Basil Alexander said the party found it dreadful that the life of a young person, who had so much to offer to the community, had been devastated by an act of violence.