Union demands action after nurses hijacked, robbed in KZN

2016-08-12 18:01
Hospital. (Dieu Nalio Chery, AP, file)

Hospital. (Dieu Nalio Chery, AP, file)

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Durban - The Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (Denosa) in KwaZulu-Natal on Friday said it intended to withdraw all its members in unsafe areas following the hijacking, robbery and abandoning of three nurses in the bush while on their way to an outreach programme recently.

Denosa's provincial secretary Cassim Lekhoathi said the minibus the nurses were travelling in was stopped by a private car in Ntambanana, Empangeni.

"The two hijackers got inside the kombi and robbed them of their belongings including cellphones, wallets and jewellery. They then drove them into a deep bush where they met two other hijackers who assisted in offloading the health equipment before dropping the nurses in the middle of the bush," said Lekhoathi.

Lekhoathi said one of the nurses was almost raped but narrowly escaped being assaulted after she told the suspects that she was suffering from a certain chronic health condition.

He said the nurses' colleagues at Ngwelezane Hospital realised during knock-off time that their cars were still parked at the facility. They tried to call them and began to panic when they could not reach them as their phones were off.

Lekhoathi said criminals were targeting the department's vehicles.

Pervasive fear

"In the last two months alone, more than 11 vehicles have been hijacked. This particular area has lost no less than 18 vehicles to similar acts this year alone."

Lekhoathi said nurses feared for their lives.

"Our fear is that more nurses will lose their lives if nothing is done to safeguard their safety. We won't allow any nurse to die first before the seriousness of this issue is noticed and acted upon by the employer. They are not guinea pigs!" said Lekhoathi.

The union was demanding that the department provide safer working conditions for members with immediate effect.

"Failure to do this by the end of August 31 2016, we will be left with no option but to withdraw our members from all these facilities which are red-flagged," he said.

Department spokesperson Agiza Hlongwane was not immediately available to comment.

Read more on:    denosa  |  crime

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