Nobody asked unions how we feel about the Mamelodi incident, says union chairperson

SAHRC's Buang Jones during a site visit to Mamelodi Hospital | Image: YouTube

William Aphane says the staff at the hospital are also dismayed about the ill-treatment of 76-year-old Martha Marais.

Chairperson of the Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (Denosa) William Aphane said no one had asked unions how they felt about what happened at Mamelodi Hospital after the facility made headlines for allegedly abusing an elderly woman.

Mamelodi hospital was thrust into the spotlight last month after Virginia Keppler posted images and videos on her Facebook profile that showed her 76-year-old mother, Martha Marais, tied to the leg of a chair and laying on the floor at the hospital.

Keppler posted along with the images and video: “Nursing staff at the Mamelodi Hospital tied her hands behind her back and to these chairs, forcing her to lay on the cold floor since Tuesday night. Nursing staff ignored her, yet the staff at Eersterust clinic referred her because she needs urgent medical attention. Not even hardened murders, rapists are treated like this. I hope our new minister of health and police will see this as a criminal act and take steps against the staff of this hospital. This is disgraceful and then they wonder why we do not want to go to this ‘killer’ hospital. This must end right here. Disgraceful!!!!!!!!”

Various figures and organisations, including the Mamelodi Hospital manager and the Public Servants Association (PSA) expressed their disgust and concern about the matter and condemned the staff that were allegedly involved in carrying this out.

“Since the incident happened‚ no one has come to us as unions to ask how we feel about what has happened‚” said Aphane.

He was speaking to Buang Jones‚ Gauteng manager of the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) during a site visit at the hospital, reports Sowetan.

Jones’ visit comes as a result of the SAHRC’s separate investigation into the matter. He was there to “examine a number of factors‚ including infrastructure and human resources‚ and to ascertain whether patients were receiving proper health care”.

“Everyone just goes to management. No union members were interviewed. No nurses were interviewed about this. Management are giving a one-sided story. The workers have no voice on this one‚” added Aphane.

According to Aphane, staff at the facility have since been left demoralised after they were blamed for what they perceived to be other people’s problems.

“There are a lot of faults in the system‚ like infrastructure. What can a nurse do about infrastructure? We don’t have a seclusion room‚ but we get mental patients who need to be secluded and we can’t do that here at casualty,” said Aphane.

READ NEXT: Martha Marais opens up about ‘hell’ in Mamelodi Hospital

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