Action would be taken to ensure women who were forcibly sterilised received redress, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said this week. According to a Cape Argus report, Mkhize was responding to parliamentary questions from EFF MP Naledi Chirwa, who asked when he and his department planned to meet the victims of forced sterilisation, following the release of a report by the Commission on Gender Equality (CGE). Chirwa charged that it had been four months since the CGE released its report on the sterilisation of HIV-positive women, yet nothing had been resolved.
Mkhize said the department was engaging with the CGE, who had indicated that they would approach the representatives of the victims to obtain consent for the identities of the victims and the affidavits they had made available to the department. “Once we have information, the department will be in a position to facilitate dialogue, leading to redress,” Mkhize said.
In March, the CGE informed the Portfolio Committee on Women, Youth & Persons with Disabilities that it had conducted an investigation in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng after it received complaints from NGOs Her Rights and the International Community of Women Living HIV about forced sterilisation.
The CGE said at the time it had found that women were not properly informed of their rights or counselled before being sterilised. It said some women were sterilised while undergoing Caesarean section surgery, and some consent forms were signed when patients were in pain.Full Cape Argus report (subscription needed)