protestSunday Tribune reports that staff at Nkonjeni Hospital in Mahlabathini, Kwazulu-Natal, gathered at the front gate on Friday to voice their concerns over safety and security, maintenance, and management’s silence after the rape of a nurse there last week.  

However, by mid-morning, all staff had returned to their workstations due to management allegedly threatening discipline.  But, Ayanda Zulu of the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) refuted claims by staff members of victimisation by hospital management during the protest, saying the plan had been for workers to return to their duties once their memorandum of demands had been received.  Meantime, a source close to the rape victim claimed she had not received counselling since the incident.  Xolani Mchunu, Athopasi Security Services owner, the company contracted to the hospital, said the nurse was working alone at the Gateway mobile clinic behind the main hospital building when she was attacked by an unknown suspect.  However, Mchunu said that at the time of the incident, the security company did not have any staff stationed at the clinic, an issue which had been previously raised with the department.  A spokesperson for the KZN Department of Health, commented:  “Following the adverse incident on Sunday, significant improvements have been made at the facility, which the department cannot divulge due to their sensitivity.”

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