Uncaring ANC government leaves 30 bodies at Free State Mortuary to decompose
24 January 2019
The Democratic Alliance will submit written questions to the Free State Health MEC, Montseng Tsiu, asking her to give us a plan of action on how her department will resolve capacity and operational collapse at the Free State Mortuary, which services the southern Free State.
The mortuary currently has 30 badly decomposed bodies which the local municipality has failed to assist with.
This comes after an oversight inspection I conducted today, accompanied by my colleague and DA Shadow Minister of Basic Education, Nomsa Machersi. We were horrified to note that the fridges were not working and had become unhygienic.
We were greeted by a strong stench at the administration and operational floor due to the broken fridges.
Worse still, the shortage of forensic pathologists means that those who are available have to put in more overtime hours than they are paid for. The head of the mortuary lamented the lack of a support system, counselling or wellness programmes in place given the conditions under which they work.
In Welkom, some pathologists who collect specimens and collect bodies have low morale, often at times even refusing to collect bodies especially at night.
The DA learnt that the Health Department doesn’t have a full understanding of their daily challenges because stakeholder meetings hardly take place.
They personnel don’t have sufficient protective gear and the showers are filthy and have only cold water.
There are 3 specialist doctors with only four registrars but two of those are on a rotational basis as they are still in-training.
Of grave concern, is that there are 13 vacant posts which have not been filled since October last. The posts were advertised and interviews conducted but the National Treasury rejected without a plausible explanation.
The histology facility is fully equipped however have no trained personnel to conduct needed histological work. This has created a persistent inconvenience of the slow turnaround time of 3-4 months and toxicology reports take up about six years to be concluded.
This has a negative impact on the family who can’t closure or even for justice to take place.
The department promised the senior staff that there would be a learnership programme for Forensic Pathology Officers, most of whom have only matric, but nothing has come of this since the promise was made about 20 years ago.
This is a clear indictment on the uncaring and failing ANC government and the DA will not tire until the department makes good on its promise.
The DA is the only party that has a clear plan that prioritises service delivery and is committed to building One South Africa for All.
Issued by Patricia Kopane, DA Free State Premier Candidate, 24 January 2019