Dr Aaron Motsoaledi
Minister of Health
4th Floor, Room 417
120 Plein Street
Cape Town

Dear Honourable Minister

UDEMWO calls for investigation on involuntary sterilisation of women by health workers

Recently there were allegations of doctors and nurses who perform gruesome practice of sterilisation to women without their consent. No one has the right to perform such a heinous procedure without the consent of the patient; the fact that the women are living with the virus does not mean they are less human.

Adding insults to injuries most of these women are those living with HIV/AIDS. This is surprising and offending to us as women especially in this day and age of human rights. The United Democratic Movement Women’s Organisation (UDEMWO) is even more dismayed to learn that this horrible practice is taking place in both private and public hospitals in most provinces in the country.

The rights of women have been once again violated and taken for granted by the health officials.

It is important to remind officials that the duty of health workers is to help the community and not to make them feel less human. Living with HIV/ AIDS should not be seen as a death sentence to those infected and affected by it.
So far 48 cases of involuntary sterilisation have been documented. This takes away the dignity of women. It permanently violates the right of women to have any babies when they are ready to do so let alone the risks it brings to women living with the virus. This is unacceptable and UDEMWO demands answers to this matter.

We are calling upon you Dr Motsoaledi along with your department to investigate these serious allegations. Doctors and nurses who are found to be responsible for these demoralising actions must be severely punished for their inhumane and unethical behaviour.

Yours sincerely in nation building,
Thandi Nontenjwa