Minister of Health, Dr Zweli Mkhize, has requested an urgent meeting with the Commission for Gender Equality regarding its report on forced sterilisations at hospitals in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.
The commission found that over two decades, close to 50 women were forcefully sterilised at 15 hospitals. The Commission is seeking compensation for the victims.
Commissioner Dr Tlaleng Mofokeng says they have also requested that the Minister and Health officials from the department meet personally with the victims in order to see the trauma caused by the forced sterilisations.
“What that would require is commitment from the Department of Health to firstly accept that they have made a mistake that violations of women have been gross and negligent. Another thing is that in our recommendations is that the department has to initiate dialogue with the victims,” says Mofokeng.
In this video, Commissioner Dr Tlaleng Mofokeng says there are possible forced sterilisations in other provinces
The Commission’s Chairperson Tamara Mathebula says they will also engage with the National Health Department, the Health Professions Council as well as the Nursing Council to initiate their own investigations into the findings and bring those involved to account.
“There are legal as well as ethical considerations here. They can then further do the investigations in the next three months in terms of looking at who was on duty on that day following those reports. We need to make sure that there is consequence management and people followed ethically and legally.
“Our recommendations are binding if we offer or issue recommendations and people don’t follow we do follow-ups to actually take the matter further. So consequences definitely will be there if the department of health, HPSCA and the SA Nursing Council don’t follow through on those recommendations. We are also seeking some redress for the victims.”
Among the recommendations made to the Department of Health, the consent forms will be revised and the filing system will be improved.
The department has been instructed to report back to the Commission in three months on what steps have been taken to deal with the unlawful and unethical practice.
In the video below, Tamara Mathebula says many women are not aware of their reproductive rights
Watch @CGE_ZA launch findings of investigative report into complaint regarding forced and coerced sterilization brought by @ICW_Global & @HRI_ZA #CGEmediabriefing @javubaloyi https://t.co/lkI6GsKWnB https://t.co/WlRsfIyqEN
— ICW (@ICW_Global) February 24, 2020