Reports have emerged that authorities in South Africa are investigating circumstances under which a male patient at a hospital in Gauteng was raped by a fellow psychiatric patient on Saturday, 17th October.

Local publications report that there have been a spate of similar incidents at Gauteng hospitals over the last few months, and the Democratic Alliance (DA) have called for an urgent investigation into the alleged crime, as well as for provincial health officials to probe the questionable efficiency of Bheki Mlangeni Hospital’s CEO Ruth Mabyana after she resumed work having been suspended earlier in the year.

DA shadow minister for Health, Jack Bloom, said on Monday 19 October that the victim has been transported to a separate facility for treatment.

“The Gauteng Health Department needs to investigate another alleged rape of a psychiatric patient which took place at the on Saturday this past weekend,” he said.

“It appears that a male psychiatric patient at Bheki Mlangeni raped another male patient who was then taken to the Nthabiseng rape centre at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital.”

Other alleged rapes have been reported at the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Hospital, Tara Mental Hospital, and the Stanza Bopape Clinic in Tshwane over the last few months.

A two-year-old girl who was in isolation for COVID-19 at the Dr George Mukhari Academic Hospital in northwestern Gauteng was also allegedly raped in July, with that investigation having appeared to have hit a dead-end.

Bloom said that there is “a concern amongst staff that the hospital management will cover up this incident”, drawing attention to Mabyana who was suspended in the wake of the alleged murder by a psychiatric patient of another patient at the hospital in May this year.

“This is the eleventh violent incident at Bheki Mlangeni since the beginning of the year, yet the CEO Ruth Mabyana has been allowed to return to her post despite being initially put on precautionary suspension while investigation continues into the murder,” he said.

“In my view, Mabyana is the worst hospital CEO in Gauteng and should have been removed long ago after scandals that include a string of violent assaults on patients and staff as well as a jobs-for-sale racket.”

Bloom insisted that more be done to ensure the safety of patients in Gauteng hospitals, particularly for those suffering from mental health related conditions.

“It is not forgivable that yet another assault has occurred on a patient at this hospital,” he said. “Effective steps should have been taken to ensure that mental health patients are only admitted to a dedicated high security ward.”

“New management is needed urgently at the hospital to ensure that patients and staff are in a secure environment without threat of violence.”

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