Bodies piling up since 2015 in KZN state mortuaries

Are KwaZulu-Natal’s state mortuaries facing a crisis and posing a serious health risk to staff?

According to reports, it seems state mortuaries are facing a major crisis, with over 200 unidentified bodies in their possession.

Are KZN state mortuaries facing a serious health hazard? (Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Allegedly, some of the corpses have been in the mortuaries since 2015/2016. This is according to the Public and Allied Workers Union of South Africa (PAWUSA).

Adding to the issue, Halalisani Gumede, the union’s provincial secretary, claims there is no pest-control staff at the mortuaries.

Gumede says this poses a serious health risk. This is because flies go from unidentified bodies to where autopsies are being performed. From there, the flies make their way to the kitchens where staff are preparing their lunch.

Furthermore, because of a lack of storage space, cross-contamination is becoming problematic. Gumede explains identified bodies are put alongside unidentified bodies, of which some have maggots on them. This results in people taking the bodies of their loved ones with a series of contaminations.

He adds there are 32 unidentified bodies at Park Rynie state mortuary, with a further 60 at Gale Street state mortuary. There are apparently a further 15 bodies at Stanger mortuary. Pinetown has 10.

Gumede believes the government does not have a proper plan in burying these bodies.

With the seriousness of the issue, union members went on a go-slow in 2018. But, to-date, the problem persists, and the Department of Health remains silent.

What are your thoughts on the situation? Do you feel mortuary staff should endure working in these conditions? What do you feel about the bodies of people being shown little respect?

Share your views with us in the comments section below.

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