Mamelodi patient abuse update: SAHRC issuing summons to hospital staff

The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) has visited the Mamelodi hospital on Tuesday after a video of 76-year-old Martha Marais tied to a steel bench caused public outrage earlier this month.

In the video, shared widely on social media, Marais is seen lying on a cold hospital floor with her daughter questioning the staff of their conduct towards her frail mother.

SAHRC Gauteng head Buang Jones says he was informed that there is a critical shortage of human resources and a shortage of beds at the hospital.

The hospital also explained that there is no adequate and functional equipment and that the hospital is too small to service feeder communities as well as leadership instability, he adds.

The incident of Martha Marais is one example that shows there is a lack of care, the staff attitude is quite bad and this is because the staff feels overburdened.

Buang Jones, Gauteng head - South African Human Rights Commission

There are high incidents of staff absenteeism at this hospital and there hasn't been a permanent CEO in the last financial year and we hope the new health MEC in Gauteng will address this.

Buang Jones, Gauteng head - South African Human Rights Commission

According to Jones, the explanation given by the hospital as to why Marias was restrained was not convincing. He says it contradicts with the assessments made by the MEC of health in Gauteng Dr Bandile Masuku.

The hospital told SAHRC that it is normal procedure for patients who display psychotic behaviour to be restrained.

Read: Daughter finds 76-year-old mom tied under a bench at Mamelodi Hospital

In our view, we still believe that she was treated in an inhuman and degrading fashion. We demand justice for her and there should be a level of accountability as well.

Buang Jones, Gauteng head - South African Human Rights Commission

We decided not to waste time and start issuing summons because we feel the hospital staff will not learn if nothing is done.

Buang Jones, Gauteng head - South African Human Rights Commission

There's been an increase in complaints which relates to staff attitude.

Buang Jones, Gauteng head - South African Human Rights Commission

Jones says the hospital will be asked to submit a comprehensive turnaround plan on how these problems will be addressed.

To hear the rest of the conversation, listen below:


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