On September 21st, 2022, 15-year-old Zenizole Vena lost her life after being turned away by nurses at Motherwell clinic just because she didn’t have a police report.
According to her family, Vena left home on September 15th to attend a school event in a nearby town and never returned. However, they never reported her missing as they thought she had run away from home and would eventually turn up, but sadly that was never the case. Nonetheless, they later failed to explain to the police why they had thought that way since she had never done it before. However, none of them have been charged with child neglect.
Six days later, Vena turned up at Motherwell Clinic with the most devastating news. She told nurses how she had been held hostage for six days by two men who took turns sexually assaulting her and only gave her water to survive. However, despite those heart-wrenching words, they refused to treat her. They told her that she first needed to produce a police report since nothing about her missing or being abducted had been shared with the public.
As if that was not insulting enough, the person who later attended to her at the police station said it was clear she needed help, and upon her arrival started having epileptic seizures. Unfortunately, it was too late when the ambulance arrived — Vena was gone.
South African Provincial commissioner Lt-Gen Nomthetheleli Mene expressed her disappointment to Vena's family and urged parent's report such cases as soon as possible. “There is no waiting period to report a person missing. Children are vulnerable and are easily influenced. Therefore, as responsible adults, everything must be done to protect them from becoming victims of a crime.” however, she also didn't spare nurses at Motherwell clinic.
“We agree that there is room for improvement in how the patient was referred to the police. The department will deal with any shortcomings identified during our investigation, and appropriate action will be taken."
Vena has already been laid to rest, and I hope justice will be served.