The CEO of the Dr. George Mukhari Hospital in Pretoria, dr. Richard Lebethe says he was left in the dark about the alleged rape of the two-year-old child in June in the hospital’s isolation ward. He says he was informed only weeks after the incident because of a misunderstanding in communication between hospital staff members.
Lebethe admitted to the protesters during a protest action by the #NotInMyName activists at the hospital on Friday that he first heard about the incident last week after receiving a median inquiry into it. “It shocked me and at that point I started asking questions about the incident,” he told the crowd of protesters.
The father of the little girl was also part of this march. The march was held in order to bring justice to his daughter.
Lebethe says he believes the misunderstanding arose in the period when the child was brought to the hospital’s casualties and when the family took her from the hospital to the police station to lay a charge of rape.
The girl was referred to a hospital in Soshanguve on 15 June. The aunt argued the hospital staff had informed her the little girl might have the new coronavirus among members and that she should be kept in isolation. Her mother was told to go home. The hospital called later that night and said the child was crying from pain. Later, another call followed that she was now asleep. The next morning, the hospital contacted her mother again, saying that the girl had tested negative for the virus and that she should go home.
The toddler was not herself afterwards. She had difficulty walking, acted strangely and cried all the time. The mother also saw a strange liquid on the child’s private parts when she changed her nappy. In the days that followed she refused to play and cried all the time. After her mother investigated further, she realized that the child had been tampered with. One could easily see that there was penetration.
They sent for the child’s father who said they should take her to the hospital the next day. At the KT Motubatse clinic, the nurse said there were indications that the child had been molested and that she had gone to the Dr. George Mukhari Hospital to be taken back.
Lebethe conceded that the delay in paying attention to the case, and the time that elapsed before the investigation and the collection of evidence, would have a negative effect on the criminal investigation. “If the matter had been addressed immediately, it would have been easier to obtain information. With evidence like DNA and semen, it’s best to take it immediately. “
Lebethe admits that when the child was referred back to the hospital after the mother noticed the foreign liquid on the child’s private parts, the hospital should have paid immediate attention to it.
“When the parents brought the child back to the hospital, one nurse decided the case should be reported to the police. The nurse called the police, but no one showed up. The parents then went to the police station themselves. ” The parents were sent by port from port to starboard.
Lebethe says when the family left the hospital, the nurse decided to talk to a supervisor of the hospital. “The supervisor told her that she was not supposed to let the family go, but should have called a doctor to examine the child.” The hospital then called the family and asked them to come back.
Officials initially denied knowing anything about the alleged incident – something the child’s family described as an infamous lie.