Doctors dismayed as rape charges are dropped

2010-11-25 16:16

The SA Medical Association expressed dismay over the withdrawal of charges against two men suspected of raping a Free State doctor at Pelonomi Hospital in Bloemfontein.

Sama chairperson Norman Mabasa said reports indicated the withdrawal of charges was due to the absence of DNA evidence linking the suspects to the rape.

“While we are not privy to the details of the investigation, we are concerned that there appears to be sole reliance on that evidence.”

Mabasa said the association wanted an effective and comprehensive investigation into the matter and the prosecution of all of the alleged offenders.

The widely publicised case served to further emphasise the problems that rape survivors faced in seeking justice.

“We are of opinion that it would discourage other rape survivors from reporting their cases, for fear of being subjected to the secondary trauma of a system that may fail them,” he said.

Yesterday, the National Prosecuting Authority in the Free State said charges would be withdrawn against the two men held in connection with the incident.

Spokesperson Medupe Simasiku said the two men were expected to be released from custody because no DNA linking them to the alleged crime had been found during the investigation.

An investigation into a 16-year-old Lesotho national, who was still in custody, would continue as this was the only suspect linked to the crime by the victim.

The 35-year-old doctor was on night shift duty at the Pelonomi Hospital when she was overpowered in a ward on October 30.

She was forced into a room and hit her over the head with a brick.

Sama urged the minister of health and provincial health MECs to take immediate steps to ensure the safety and security of all personnel working in the public health sector.

“Much about security is said each time such an incident occurs, however it appears that often little is forthcoming in terms of real efforts to address security issues,” Mabasa said.

The minor will appear in court on November 29.

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