‘We used to share lunchboxes and laughs’: Shot Thembisa nurse honoured by colleagues and friends

Colleagues and friends of slain Tembisa Hospital nurse Lebohang Monene were united on Tuesday in paying tribute to their “ever-smiling” friend.

Lebohang ‘Lebo’ Monene was shot dead at the Tembisa Hospital.
Image: Supplied

They were at a memorial service at Tembisa Christian Family Church, which was filled with music and messages of comfort for her family and loved ones.

Monene was allegedly killed by her police officer ex-boyfriend, who then turned the gun on himself. The 30-year-old suspect allegedly entered the hospital driving a state vehicle with its blue lights switched on and stopped in  the accident and emergency department parking lot.

Adrina Moloto, a friend and colleague of Monene, said her professional life would never be the same.

“We used to share lunchboxes and laughs. She taught us a lot of things. On days when she would wear her high-waisted jeans with proper makeup, she was the best.

“May the Lord protect her children whom she lived for. She used to call herself ‘mmago bashiname’ [mother of boys]. She was the youngest in our department but she was so respectful,” said Moloto.

The police officer called his 30-year-old partner, who was on duty at the time, to come to the parking lot. Upon arrival, he allegedly opened fire on the nursing assistant and then turned the gun on himself.

The nurse died on the scene while the police officer was left in a critical condition.

Matron Nare Kobe said Monene was always keen to learn since joining her department in 2016.

“She died before she got her level grading. We have lost a daughter, a friend and a colleague. She was such a joy to work with. She went above the expectation and would help me with roles that weren’t hers,” she said.

The Democratic Nursing Organisation of SA (Denosa) earlier said it wanted the police officer to face the full might of the law.

“Denosa calls on law enforcement agencies to ensure that, if he recovers, the police officer faces the full might of the law for the killing of the nurse and for abusing the privilege extended to officers of the law to enter healthcare facilities with their guns,” said spokesperson Sibongiseni Delihlazo.

Policies are in place to protect women but without commitment to implementation we will have more women killed.

Jeanette Sera, Powa counselling manager

Delihlazo said the incident was a wake-up call to the need for security at medical facilities. He said the health department needed to “reconsider allowing armed police officers to enter healthcare facilities unless it is under extraordinary circumstances”.

The hospital was closed for several hours after the incident as staff struggled to come to terms with the tragedy.

People Opposing Woman Abuse (Powa) counselling manager Jeanette Sera said this was unfortunately a reality for many women in SA.

“As women we are not safe. There’s a war on us. Those meant to love and protect us are killing us. Gender-based violence is another pandemic because women are killed every day. She lost her life near a place that supports people who are victims of violence. It’s a slap in the face,” said Sera.

“Policies are in place to protect women but without commitment to implementation we will have more women killed. It’s just as good as a protection order. There’s no real safety in it.”

TimesLIVE (TMG Digital)

Kgaugelo Masweneng

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