Months after a lay counselor's arrest for medication theft
at a clinic outside Nelspruit, two more staffers have been arrested for the
Now people living with HIV are worried that the theft of the
ARV medication they rely on will impact on them.
Months after a lay counsellor who used to work for the
Department of Health at Kanyamazane Clinic was arrested, two more employees were
taken into custody.
Staff face charges
A nurse and a pharmacy assistant will now also face charges
of stealing ARV medication from the supply store at a government clinic.
Last August Mthobisi Malambe was apprehended at the clinic
after security officials linked him to two women who would regularly arrive at
the clinic and leave with his bag. It was found that the bag contained anti-retroviral
Malambe appeared in the Kanyamazane Magistrate’s Court, and
was released on bail while his case remains under investigation. The Department
of Health has since dismissed him.
However, just few months after Malambe’s arrest, a professional
nurse and pharmacist assistant have been arrested on suspicion of stealing
ARV’s from Kanyamazane Clinic. It is not known for how long the theft has been
going on. The two have been released on bail after appearing in the Nelspruit
Increased security at hospitals
According to Dumisani Malamule, spokesperson for the
Mpumalanga Department of Health, the Department is planning to increase
security at all its facilities, particularly in the medicine stores. While
Malambe was dismissed, the nurse and pharmacy assistance both resigned.
However, the department is considering whether to accept the resignations while
an internal investigation is ongoing.
Sinenhlanhla Gumende, an HIV positive patient, has asked how
the theft of ARV’s in the province is likely to affect patients reliant on the
Sifiso Nkala from public interest law group Section 27, said
people were frustrated with and concerned about corruption within the Health
“Their main obligation is to maintain, improve, protect and
promote the health of all people. That means the DoH has to treat and prevent
diseases to ensure a healthy population. How do they intend to do this with a
corrupt workforce?” Nkala asked.
applaud the department for taking action against the accused, and we hope this
will send a strong message to other facilities and we hope other perpetrators
are caught and dealt with accordingly. This cannot be taken lightly as medicine
shortages threaten people’s health and lives,” said Belinda Setshogelo of the
Treatment Action Campaign in Mpumalanga.
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