SOUTH Africa’s opposition Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has lodged an official complaint against medical doctor and Limpopo province Member of Executive Committee (MEC), Phophi Ramathuba for “dehumanising” a Zimbabwean patient.
“This follows a disturbing video clip doing the rounds where she is seen in Bela Bela Hospital dehumanising, abusing and discriminating against a patient (woman) from Zimbabwe,” the EFF wrote to the South African Human Rights Commission (SHRC) yesterday.
The letter was signed by the party’s commissar Mbuyiseni Ndlozi.
“The MEC has violated her Hippocratic Oath, which obliges all physicians or doctors to ‘abstain from all intentional wrongdoing and harm’, especially from abusing bodies of man or woman, bound or free.
“The xenophobic attitude against fellow Africans is despicable, shameful, unaccepted and it must never find resonance in modern society. We call upon the SHRC to investigate her conduct and take appropriate steps against her.”
In an earlier statement, EFF also said: “Her entire ill-informed and inhumane performance and address to sick patients awaiting surgery is inconsistent with all universal standards of patient confidentiality and dignity. The MEC’s open rejection of the patients awaiting surgery on the basis that they are Africans from other African countries is only informed by nothing else, but Afrophobia, a hatred of other African people.”
The Zimbabwean patient was at the hospital awaiting surgery after she was involved in an accident when Ramathuba accused her and other foreign immigrants of straining that country’s health delivery system.
Ramathuba said President Emmerson Mnangagwa was not supporting that country’s health delivery system.
Her statements come in the wake of anti-Zimbabwe immigrant sentiment in that country accompanied by pockets of xenophobic attacks against foreign nationals.
Analysts said her statements would inflame xenophobic attacks against Zimbabwean immigrants who face deportation after Pretoria has said it would not renew the Zimbabwe Exemption Permits (ZEPs) beyond December.
There are an estimated 178 000 ZEP holders.
Political analyst Vivid Gwede said Ramathuba’s statement would encourage vigilante groups to carry out more xenophobic attacks against Zimbabweans in South Africa.
In April, a vigilante group calling itself Dudula stoned and burnt to ashes Zimbabwean, Elvis Nyathi.
Human rights defender Farai Maguwu said Mnangagwa’s ruling Zanu PF party was to blame for exposing fellow nationals to xenophobic attacks through mis-governance and failing to revive the country’s health sector.
Analyst Effie Ncube added: “Had Zimbabwe been properly governed, there would have been no need for Zimbabweans to be languishing in South Africa, where they are subjected to criminal indignities, victimisation and humiliation.”
Yesterday, reports emerged that over 1 000 undocumented foreign nationals had been arrested in Limpopo province, while a further 1 130 had been apprehended for various crimes.
South African government officials often blame undocumented Zimbabwean for the high crime rate in that country.
Foreign Affairs ministry spokesperson Livit Mugejo said government was ready to welcome Zimbabwean returnees.