‘Rape’ in doctor’s surgery: Woman breaks silence
The woman has brought charges against the doctor knowing her job, according to her, was on the line
An Eastern Cape woman who claims she was repeatedly raped by a medical doctor has questioned the manner in which the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) is handling her case.
The 27-year-old mother of one said she was working as an office assistant for the doctor at his practice in a town near Mthatha when the alleged rapes took place. The doctor has been arrested, and his trial is expected to start next year.
The woman, who cannot be named because she is a rape victim, said she reported the matter in July to the council but only received an acknowledgement letter last month, without anyone calling her from the council.
“I expected them to come to me and tell me what and where the investigation is,” said the woman, who also reported the matter to the police.
“This person raped me many times and threatened to fire me if I am reporting him. I never wanted to lose my job because I have a child to feed.”
Police spokesperson Captain Dineo Koena confirmed a case was opened and that a man had been arrested. “We can confirm this case, and the suspect is expected back in court in March next year. The suspect is charged for rape,” said Koena.
The HPCSA, who was contacted on Wednesday for comment, had not responded to questions from Times Select by the time of publication.
The woman claimed the incidents started late last year.
“When this started, we were together in the surgery last year in October. He tried to rape me and, when I refused, he told me that I will lose my work. I begged him that my child was still an infant, I can’t afford to lose my work,” she said. “I never expected that from him.”
She said she continued until the middle of this year.
“In this town there’s no work, and I was one of the lucky few to have a job in the area. But it was painful for me to wake up every morning to go to that surgery because when he sees me, he sees his sex slave,” she alleged.
“This continued since last year. I just could not take it any more. He’s a married man, and this was painful for me.”
She told her cousin and her sister, who advised her to open a case.
The doctor, whose name is known to Times Select, refused to comment. “You better speak to my lawyers about this,” he said.
His lawyer, Unathi Ximbi of Ximbi-Ncolo Inc in Mthatha, said he believed there was no case against his client.
“I can confirm the case, and it is in court and is expected to be heard next year in March. But we are ready for it any time – even today, we can go to court, as we believe there’s no case here,” said Ximbi. Health minister Aaron Motsoaledi was asked in parliament in July this year if any practising doctors were facing disciplinary hearings or criminal charges. In his reply, he said there were 1,523 cases before the HPCSA.
Of those, 263 were related to the mismanagement of patients, 25 were linked to inappropriate relationships with patients, 77 cases were to do with fraud and theft and another 40 cases were related to exposing patients to danger.
Motsoaledi declined to say if there were any criminal cases pending against medical doctors.
“This is a matter for South African Police Services,” he told parliament.