According to reports, the Commission for Gender Equality released a report which looked at over 37 none consensual sterilization cases in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.
“You HIV people don’t ask questions when making babies. You must be closed up…Just sign the form.” A statement released by the CGE noted that this is what one HIV-positive woman was told by a health worker as she was being coerced into agreeing to get sterilized at a public hospital.
The commission said in their statement that some women, who were sterilised without their consent, revealed that they were simply given consenting forms to sign without any explanation about what the document was for. In some instances, false information was allegedly used provided.
The investigation was reportedly launched after two women’s rights organisations approached the Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) in 2015 with 48 documented cases of coerced sterilisation. The CGE obtained sworn affidavits from the complainants on the alleged procedures.
According to a news report on Monday, CGE CEO Keketso Maema said, “All the women who had lodged the complaint were black women who were mostly HIV-positive,”
The Commission’s Tamara Mathebula added that the Department of Health should investigate this phenomenon in all provinces. “We need to actually make a follow up with the National Department of Health and agree on time frames on when they will be finished doing the entire nine provinces,” she said.
The commission has now mandated the department to work with the Health Professions Council of South Africa and the South African Nursing Council to take action against doctors and nurses who violated the women’s rights.