Daily Dispatch

SAHRC to help elderly woman


The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) said on Friday it planned to provide legal assistance to Martha Marais‚ a 76year-old woman who was poorly treated and tied to a steel bench at Mamelodi Hospital.

The elderly woman’s plight came to light after several pictures and videos surfaced on social media.

The commission’s spokespers­on, Buang Jones, said it had initiated a “own accord” investigat­ion.

“We want to provide legal assistance to the family. We want to demand answers from the MEC of health and the CEO of the hospital, because this happened under his/her watch. Part of our mandate is to hold the government accountabl­e‚” said Jones.

He said there had been a clear violation of Marais’ human rights‚ and that there was clear humiliatio­n and victimisat­ion.

This follows a visit by the newly appointed health MEC‚ Dr Bandile Masuku‚ on Thursday‚ who said the department was investigat­ing and action would be taken against those involved.

Masuku gave the hospital at least 72 hours to hand over its report into the incident.

“At face value‚ it appears that the patient was ill-treated and the standard operating procedure was not followed‚” said Masuku.

While the commission vowed to hold the authoritie­s accountabl­e‚ it also called for the staff members involved to be dealt with.

Virginia Keppler‚ spokespers­on for the Marais family‚ said it would open cases against the staff involved in the incident as well as the Gauteng health department on Friday.

Following the incident‚ a number of people have come forward to report alleged negligence taking place in public hospitals in the province.

Jones said the commission intended to conduct site inspection­s at hospitals next month.

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