I welcome the intervention today of the SA National Defence Force health services to help reduce the backlog at Gauteng mortuaries due to a strike by provincial forensic pathology officers.

There are about 200 post-mortems that have to be done, some of them on bodies that have been in the mortuaries for more than a week.

I am aware of at least four affected mortuaries – Diepkloof, Hillbrow, Germiston and Roodepoort.

I am concerned, however, that police have not been able to provide sufficient protection to doctors to enable them to perform the autopsies.

The Gauteng Health Department has also unreasonably refused families to employ private pathologists working with police supervision to do the autopsies, which are done in all cases of suspected unnatural death.

This strike has caused incredible anguish to families of the deceased. This includes legal action that is being contemplated by Muslim families who are religiously required to bury the deceased on the day of death.

Gauteng Premier David Makhura needs to step in to ensure that all relevant departments work together to ensure the safety of those working at the mortuaries and to resolve this distressing strike as soon as possible.

Statement by Jack Bloom MPL
DA Gauteng Shadow Health MEC