- Bongani Zuma died at Gomane Clinic in Mpendle near Pietermaritzburg on Monday
- Nurses had downed tools after one staffer had allegedly contracted the coronavirus
- Zuma’s father, Mthi, is traumatised by the incident, making matters worse is that he doesn’t have money to bury his son
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By Lungani Zungu - Freelance Journalist
A frail man went to Gomane Clinic in Mpendle near Pietermaritzburg on Monday hoping that’s where he would get a lifeline. But sadly, that’s where Bongani Zuma, 28, took his last breath as nurses had downed their tools after one staffer had allegedly contracted coronavirus.
A frail man went to Gomane Clinic in Mpendle near Pietermaritzburg on Monday hoping that’s where he would get a lifeline. But sadly, that’s where Bongani Zuma, 28, took his last breath as nurses had downed their tools after one staffer had allegedly contracted the coronavirus.
“We walked a long journey to the clinic, which is the only one we have in the area, hoping that my son would get help. But to our dismay that’s where he took his last breath,” he said.
Zuma senior said what baffles him is why no one at the clinic told them to go to another clinic if they were not going to be helped.
He said his son had been frail, but things got worse on Sunday night.
“We decided to go to the clinic on Monday. When we arrived at the clinic there were guards at the gates. They told us nurses were on strike but they did not tell us to go elsewhere,” he said.
They waited, hoping the striking nurses, who were on the premises, would eventually return to work and help the throngs of people who waited outside.
With his patience running thin, Zuma senior confronted the staff, whom he claimed told him to wait for an ambulance which would take him to a nearby hospital.
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The clinic is the only health facility in the village.
“We waited for close to four hours, but the ambulance did not arrive. When I checked my son again, I noticed that he was motionless. I thought he was taking a nap but on close inspection, I noticed he had died,” said the grieving dad.
Making things worse for him is that he doesn’t have money to bury his own son as no one in the family is employed.
Inkosi Simphiwe Zuma, who oversees the rural village, said he was saddened by the news, adding that the blame should be put squarely on the management of the clinic, not the workers who were on strike.
“It’s really painful that you leave home and go to the clinic hoping that's where you will get help and the next thing, that’s where you lose your life. That’s sad,” he said.
“The blame should be put on the management of the clinic. All those responsible must be held accountable.”
Zuma said he would be visiting the family to offer his condolences in the coming days.
Ward 3 councillor, where the clinic is located, Duna Dlamini, called for an urgent investigation on the matter:
“Once there’s evidence of wrongdoing on the side of nurses and management, heads must roll.”
Management of the clinic declined to comment and requested Briefly.co.za to contact the Department of Health.
Noluthando Nkosi, spokesperson for KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health, did not respond to questions sent to her.
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