The abduction and rape of a Tygerberg Hospital nursing student last week was a grim replay of a similar case 11 years ago that raised questions about security at the hospital.
The 21-year-old Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) student was abducted from a bust stop just metres from the hospital’s gate last Tuesday night.
“The student was raped in the bushes next to Bishop Lavis Court. The circumstances surrounding the case are being investigated and no one has been arrested yet,” said provincial police spokesman Captain FC van Wyk.
The student received medical treatment at Karl Bremmer Hospital’s Thuthuzela Care Centre and was counselled, according to the Western Cape Department of Health.
Hospital spokeswoman Laticia Pienaar described the incident as “unfortunate” and said the hospital had become aware of it on Thursday September 5.
On May 5 2008, a 20-year-old UWC oral health student – the sister of a well-known Springbok rugby player – parked her care at Tygerberg Hospital where she was to attend a class.
As she was climbing out of the car, three men forced her back into the vehicle and knifepoint and drove unchecked past hospital security guards to an empty house in Klipheuwel, where, according to police, they raped and assaulted her.
They hit her in the face and cut her arms. When the men went outside to check on a noise, the student rushed to her car, found the keys still in ignition and drove away.
About a week later, a Tygerberg Hospital employee, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of losing her job, told Die Burger on Sunday that there was inadequate security at the hospital.
“I’ve been working there for 30 years and security doesn’t really exist. They’re just window-dressing after the incident,” the woman told the paper.
She said staff had written numerous letters about safety to the hospital management.
The report quoted former executive head of Tygerberg Hospital Terence Carter who said in response to the rape that the hospital had increased its number of security guards and “was in the process” of asking for a tender for CCTV cameras that would be monitored 24 hours a day.
But he noted that they would never be able to afford to secure the hospital adequately due to its size and the number of people on the grounds.
“We would have to put a guard on every floor and in every ward and that isn’t possible. We’re following a more comprehensive approach.”
Asked what security measures the hospital currently had, Ms Pienaar said: “We have security guards on-site and have an escort service in place for students who request it. Similarly, there is an escort service on the university campus when required by a student. The incident is being investigated by the SAPS and the City of Cape Town.”
Ms Pienaar said due to security reasons the hospital cannot reveal how many Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras they have but said cameras are installed across the hospital precinct.