Pauper backlog at Jo’burg morgue

Several corpses destined for paupers burials at the Charlotte Maxeke Academic hospital have been lying in wait for several months, a Mail & Guardian investigation revealed on Monday.

Many of the corpses exhibited advanced stages of decomposition and freezer burn, while others were bloated and leaking bodily fluids and exuding a sharp stench.

The M&G is in possession of copied documentation corroborating the date of death and time spent the morgue — some cadavers have been awaiting burial since August.

“We work here and we even eat here. I have complained but they do nothing,” a disgruntled worker at the mortuary, who preferred anonymity for fear of reprisal, told the M&G.

Morgue employees have also complained of a lack of protective gear such as masks and gloves when dealing with corpses.

Indigent burial
According to morgue employees, the majority of corpses held in the morgue were awaiting pauper’s funerals — the onus of which lies with the state if indigent people cannot be buried by their families.

In cases where families cannot afford a funeral, an application must be made to a municipality for an indigent burial.

“We complained but were told by morgue management to draft a report. We did that and nothing happened. Why must we work like this?” said the mortuary employee.

Those working in close proximity to corpses are at risk of contracting infectious diseases such as hepatitis and tuberculosis, unless correct precautions are taken with protective gear.

According to the Occupational Health and Safety Act all people working in mortuaries must have access to gloves and surgical masks.

National problem
Recently, state-run morgues across the country have come under fire for overcrowding, poor hygiene and shoddy administration.

In July, an M&G investigation revealed the morgue at Chris Hani Baragwanath hospital to be overcrowded and staff having to work in poor sanitary conditions.

A Daily Dispatch investigation in August showed similar problems at state-run mortuaries across the Eastern Cape.

On Monday afternoon, the Gauteng health department were still formulating a response to the M&G and would not comment.


Mabuza’s ‘distant relative’ scored big

Eskom’s woes are often because of boiler problems at its power plants. R50-billion has been set aside to fix them, but some of the contracts are going to questionable entities

ANC faction gunning for Gordhan

The ambush will take place at an NEC meeting about Eskom. But the real target is Cyril Ramaphosa

What the law could clarify this year

Lawfare: Major developments are on the cards where law and politics meet, including the first amendment to South Africa’s Bill of Rights

The secret ‘Warmonger’ at the SSA

A listening device acquired by the agency is at the centre of an alleged R600-million fraud operation

Press Releases

New-style star accretion bursts dazzle astronomers

Associate Professor James O Chibueze and Dr SP van den Heever are part of an international team of astronomers studying the G358-MM1 high-mass protostar.

2020 risk outlook: Use GRC to build resilience

GRC activities can be used profitably to develop an integrated risk picture and response, says ContinuitySA.

MTN voted best mobile network

An independent report found MTN to be the best mobile network in SA in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Is your tertiary institution is accredited?

Rosebank College is an educational brand of The Independent Institute of Education, which is registered with the Department of Higher Education and Training.

Is your tertiary institution accredited?

Rosebank College is an educational brand of The Independent Institute of Education, which is registered with the Department of Higher Education and Training.

VUT chancellor, Dr Xolani Mkhwanazi, dies

The university conferred the degree of Doctor of Science Honoris Causa on Dr Xolani Mkhwanazi for his outstanding leadership contributions to maths and science education development.

Innovate4AMR now in second year

SA's Team pill-Alert aims to tackle antimicrobial resistance by implementing their strategic intervention that ensures patients comply with treatment.

Medical students present solution in Geneva

Kapil Narain and Mohamed Hoosen Suleman were selected to present their strategic intervention to tackle antimicrobial resistance to an international panel of experts.