Dr Neil Campbell MPL
DA Gauteng Deputy Spokesperson on Health
The accumulation of cadavers in state mortuaries, as is happening in Tshwane now, is nothing new. The handing over of responsibility from the South African Police Service (SAPS) to the Department of Health has not resulted in the promised improvement in the condition of mortuaries.
It can be stated that generally our mortuaries are inadequate, overcrowded, unhygienic and not conducive to allowing for body identification by bereaved relatives.
The stench of rotting remains emanating from state mortuaries is commonplace and is indicative of yet another lack of capacity by deployed ANC cadres appointed as managers.
At a time when grief is the overwhelming emotion experienced by bereaved relatives the unpleasant task of body identification is made worse by partially decomposed remains being laid before family members. Inadequate viewing facilities mean that often those seeking for missing relatives have to view several bodies often piled on top of one another in the fridges.
The risk to mortuary workers is not only psychological in having to deal with death on a daily, on-going basis but also at a very practical level because of inadequate physical protection measure being available.
It is time that the whole state mortuary situation is investigated, remediated and improved.