George Mukhari Hospital CEO says he learnt of child rape incident through media
Police are investigating allegations that a two-year-old girl was attacked while in a COVID-19 isolation area in the hospital last month.
JOHANNESBURG - George Mukhari Hospital CEO Richard Lebethe said that he learnt through the media that a two-year-old girl was allegedly raped at the Pretoria facility.
The family said that they reported the crime to the hospital staff but he claimed that the report was never escalated to him or anyone else in management.
Police are investigating allegations that the toddler was attacked while in a COVID-19 isolation area last month.
Lebethe has blamed a breakdown in communication for not knowing about the sexual assault sooner.
"Several days after the incident, it did come to the out-patient department, in fact, at casualty. When they spoke to the nurse there, the nurse decided it was important that the police be called. Unfortunately, the message was never passed over to me nor any other [member of] management."
Lebethe said that although the two-year-old girl was not allowed to have her mother with her while in isolation at the facility where she was allegedly raped, she was not left alone.
He said that the girl's mother was not allowed to be with her during the night due to minimum space at the facility.
"She was with another child, who is premature, and the mother of the child. I wouldn't like to go into the merits and demerits of the case. She was not alone in there and that becomes a difficult one and it actually makes you think."
He also admitted that nurses did not immediately pick up on the rape and that they were only notified days later.
"The ward in which this baby was was definitely not aware. But after several days of the incident, they did come to the outpatient department - in fact, at casualty, when they spoke to the nurse around there getting information, the nurse decided it was important the police be called and what happened, apparently, the police took some time before they came and their aunt joined the mother and the baby, who then decided - because she was mobile to drive to the police station."
Lebethe said he has worked with many cases of gender-based violence in his career and this case has affected him.
"It puts me in an outright emotional state in that, here's an issue that I've dealt with so many a times... and here it is, it happened right in front of me and I never go to hear about it."
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