Source: Mediclinic Facebook page
Source: Mediclinic Facebook page
Hospital group Mediclinic has issued a statement following the alleged assault by Tshwane Metro Police on one of its doctors, Dr Emmanuel Taban, last week.
Taban, a well-known pulmonologist, and his wife Motheo, a physiotherapist, have already received a joint statement of support from the Critical Care Society of Southern Africa (CCSSA), the South African Medical Association (Sama), the South African Society of Anaesthesiologists (SASA) and the South African Thoracic Society (SATS).
According to News 24, Mediclinic Southern Africa said in a statement on Friday 26 June it learnt with regret about an alleged incident on Saturday (20 June) between one of its doctors and Tshwane Metro Police Department (TMPD) officials.
“Mediclinic is not privy to the details of this matter and as such cannot provide further comment,” the statement read.
“However, in principle Mediclinic always supports the fair and equitable rule of law. Mediclinic strongly objects to any harassment, assault and use of undue force based on any form of prejudice, regardless of motivation,”
The statement by the four medical-related professional societies is in support of Dr Taban and other medical colleagues who have allegedly suffered unacceptable treatment at the hands of law enforcement
The societies allege that this is not the first time frontline workers have experienced such incidents.
“In another recent incident, a senior critical care colleague from Johannesburg was handcuffed before being released by the police after acknowledgement that the travel permit was in order,” their statement said.
“Other colleagues working on the front line of the pandemic describe similar harrowing experiences by threatening and rude law enforcement officers whilst driving to and from work, at all hours of the day and night. Some colleagues have resorted to remaining at their place of work rather than driving home after hours, for fear of similar treatment.”
The statement continued: “CCSSA, SAMA, SASA and SATS believe that such treatment by police of any citizen of our country is a violation of human rights and grossly unacceptable. For health professionals, who are putting their lives at risk on a daily basis to deliver much-needed health care to the people of our country, this behaviour by the police is devaluing and deflating.
While the need for law enforcement is understood, the police should be providing protection and support to health professionals working to fight the pandemic and not causing them to fear being tortured and bullied.”
It has been alleged that Taban, who arrived in SA as a 16-year-old refugee from South Sudan, was stopped by unidentified officers on the R54 and told he was being arrested for passing a truck on a solid white line and driving recklessly.
Taban claimed he was manhandled, throttled and sworn at. He and his wife were then taken to Lyttelton police station. Taban also claimed that officers hurled abusive language at them about his ethnicity.
Taban told News24 he is still considering his options with the assistance of his attorney and he would have an update on Monday.
TMPD spokesperson Isaac Mahamba said “the investigation is continuing”.