By Thandeka Moyo
A Zimbabwean nurse working in a South African hospital who caused a stir when a picture of her posing next to the late MDC-T president Mr Morgan Tsvangirai during his final days went viral on social media, has died amid suspicions that she could have committed suicide.
Ms Nomsa Ncube, who worked at the Wits Donald Gordon Medical Centre (WDGMC) in Johannesburg, was reportedly found dead at her flat in Johannesburg on February 18, four days after the former Prime Minister succumbed to cancer of the colon in the neighbouring country.
Mr Tsvangirai, who was buried at his Buhera rural home last week on Tuesday, was diagnosed with cancer in 2016.
The politician had been visiting the hospital for two years for what his aides called routine treatment.
He died on February 14 after being admitted there last month.
Ms Ncube came under the spotlight when a picture of her posing next to the ailing politician during his final days went viral on social media.
There are different versions on the cause of her death.
A family member who spoke on condition of anonymity said she may have been killed while some online sources allege that she committed suicide following public condemnation when her picture with the late politician started circulating.
Zimbabwe’s consul general to South Africa Mr Batiraishe Mukonoweshuro confirmed that Ms Ncube had died. He said investigations were underway.
“I am told that the South African Police Service is still dealing with the case and ascertaining the circumstances around how she passed on. No information has been available as to how she died, purportedly on Sunday 18 February in the evening,” said Mr Mukonoweshuro.
He said his office was yet to get more details on the issue.
WDGMC manager Ms Sue Tager told The Chronicle that she was not in a position to comment on the incident.
“I am so sorry because we do not comment on media reports hence I cannot say anything. I will not be able to help you,” she said.
A family source who spoke on condition of anonymity said the nurse was killed as she was found in a pool of blood.
“We suspect that she was killed because her body was found lying in a pool of blood. At first we believed that she had committed suicide but we are certain of foul play though we cannot really say why she was killed or who did it,” he said.
A Zimbabwean nurse registered with the South African Nursing Council (SANC) allegedly wrote to the professional body demanding action against the nurse after her picture with Mr Tsvangirai went viral.
In the complaint, the nurse, identified only as S Masawi, demanded that the nurse be charged with misconduct.
“May I bring to your attention the attached image showing one of your nurses posing for a picture with a patient who is clearly in his final days.
“The patient is a well known Zimbabwean politician Mr Morgan Tsvangirai who passed away today (Wednesday) 14 Feb 2018 at the well-known hospital in Africa WDGMC (Wits Gordon, South African Hospital),” Masawi said.
“I am a fellow registered nurse myself and, sadly, l find the actions of your staff member, a fellow professional colleague to be grossly inappropriate, unprofessional and in breach of the Nursing profession’s code of conduct.
“I would like to assume a breach in the local hospital policies as well,” reads the complaint.
In response, a spokesperson for the hospital said disciplinary measures had been taken.
“It is with regret that we note recent posts on social media showing a photograph of Mr Tsvangirai with a nursing staff member.We have investigated the matter and, according to the nursing staff member, the photograph was taken with the permission of Mr Tsvangirai.
“We strongly condemn the appropriateness of the photograph and its subsequent distribution and confirm that disciplinary action has been taken against the nursing staff member,” the spokesperson was quoted as saying. The Chronicle