Kimberley mortuary empties human blood into streets and must be shut down

By Harold McGluwa MPL DA Northern Cape Provincial Spokesperson of Health:

The state mortuary in Kimberley must be shut down as a matter of urgency, as it continues to allow human blood to flow into the street.

The DA has today written to the Human Rights Commission and the Green Scorpions to investigate the leaking of human blood and human post-mortem by-products into public streets. (See letters attached)

The mortuary is situated on the border of a residential area and the city centre, and is located next to a fast-food outlet, across the road from Kimberley’s main police station, and in close proximity of a primary school and the Kimberley Magistrates Court. Heavy traffic and pedestrians, including school children, bypass this facility on a daily basis. Dogs have also been seen licking up the blood-laden waste water.

It is completely unacceptable that the public is being exposed to human blood, by the mortuary, for some weeks now. It is even more unacceptable that the department of health in the Northern Cape has turned a blind eye to this danger.

In fact the DA has learnt that in the past weeks officials of the health department have been seen hosing the blood away to prevent the media from getting photos of the bloody street.

It is high time that the Northern Cape Health Department is held accountable for the current state of its mortuaries and for shirking its responsibility to the people of this province.

According to a Parliamentary Reply from Health MEC Mac Jack, the department inherited mortuary services on the brink of disrepair from the SAPS in 2006.

It is deplorable that since the mortuaries were transferred to the Health Department, infrastructure upgrades to these facilities have been scant. This is despite a five year conditional grant that was initiated in 2005/06 for this exact purpose. Failure to effectively utilize this grant now sees the cash strapped department sitting on a ticking time bomb as human blood flows into the streets.

A new Kimberley mortuary is planned for completion in the 2018/2019 financial year. But this new mortuary is subject to finding funding of approximately R150 million. In the meantime, just R200 000 has been set aside for maintenance on the Kimberley Mortuary – clearly this is too little, too late for a broken and dilapidated facility.

MEC Mac Jack must come clean on the dire situation facing our provincial mortuaries.

The only logical conclusion is that these facilities must be closed down until they comply 100% with national standards, as has been the case with the Kuruman mortuary, which experienced a similar spillage of blood in 2014. Until such time, the health and wellbeing of the people of this province will be placed at risk.

When the Health Department itself cannot identify an enormous health risk, at its own facility, it is clear that external investigation is needed.

The DA hopes that the Green Scorpions will identify wrongdoing at Kimberley Mortuary and will prosecute those responsible.