Mortuary stats show violent deaths rise in Gauteng

By Jack Bloom MPL, DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health:

Newly-released statistics from Gauteng’s 10 state mortuaries show a disturbing increase in violent deaths.

These figures are revealed by Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu in a written reply to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature.

Violent deaths from gunshots, stab wounds and assault rose from 3324 in 2012/13 to 3618 in 2013/14, and 3846 in 2014/15.

These deaths accounted for 32% of the causes of unnatural death for bodies in Gauteng mortuaries last year.

Deaths due to surgical procedures have also increased, from 481 in 2012 to 803 in 2014. The vast majority of these were because of anaesthetics.

Traffic accidents accounted for 26% of the deaths last year, but the numbers have actually decreased slightly, from 3242 in 2013 to 3088 in 2014.

The third highest cause of death is hanging, with 846 deaths last year, accounting for 7% of all deaths.

Some other causes of death from 2012 to 2014 include the following:

  • Burns – 2090;
  • Stillborn – 1807;
  • Poisoning – 1462;
  • Drowning – 748;
  • Train accidents – 637;
  • Electric shock – 360;
  • Strangulation – 218;
  • Suffocation – 115; and
  • Lightning – 50

The overall number of bodies stored in the 10 Gauteng state mortuaries rose from 13 602 in 2012 to 14 866 in 2014.

These figures are of concern because they show that unnatural deaths are increasing in Gauteng, mostly because of violence.

Dead bodies don’t lie – these shock figures should be a wake-up call to curb violence and the causes of violence in Gauteng.