Min­is­ter livid over shock­ing post-mortem claims

The Star Early Edition - - FRONT PAGE - NOKUTHULA ZWANE AND KHANYISILE NG­COBO nokuthula.zwane@inl.co.za khanyisile.ng­cobo@inl.co.za @Zwane_2li2ls; @Khany­i_Seele

HEALTH Min­is­ter Aaron Mot­soaledi has vowed to in­ves­ti­gate claims that un­trained staff mem­bers had been con­duct­ing post-mortems at Gaut­eng mor­tu­ar­ies for more than 10 years.

Me­dia re­ports yes­ter­day sug­gested that the national health di­rec­tor-gen­eral, Male­bona Pre­cious Mat­soso, had re­vealed to the par­lia­men­tary port­fo­lio com­mit­tee on health that driv­ers and clean­ers had been per­form­ing post-mortems.

Mat­soso was brief­ing Par­lia­ment on the on­go­ing strike at the province’s mor­tu­ar­ies. When asked for com­ment on these al­le­ga­tions, Mot­soaledi con­firmed he was aware of these al­le­ga­tions and planned to in­ves­ti­gate them “thor­oughly”.

“When this first came up I thought that these work­ers were just mak­ing up these claims, be­cause when peo­ple go on strike they of­ten make such wild claims to gain pub­lic sym­pa­thy.

“But now that the claims are be­com­ing so se­ri­ous… To the ex­tent that it has been re­ported that Par­lia­ment was briefed on this, I’m tak­ing it very se­ri­ously, be­cause if it’s true, the head of the (im­pli­cated) mor­tu­ary must ac­count,” a fum­ing Mot­soaledi told The Star yes­ter­day.

Hun­dreds of fam­i­lies want­ing to bury their loved ones have been left frus­trated over the past two weeks be­cause they have been un­able to re­trieve the bod­ies due to the pro­tracted strike by foren­sic pathol­ogy em­ploy­ees. The work­ers are af­fil­i­ated to the National Ed­u­ca­tion, Health and Al­lied Work­ers Union and the Health and Other Ser­vices Per­son­nel Trade Union of SA.

Mot­soaledi ex­plained that the only role pathol­ogy of­fi­cers play when it came to post­mortems was to pre­pare bod­ies be­fore the ac­tual pathol­ogy is car­ried out. The real post-mortem should be done by the pathol­o­gist, he said, adding that if this was not the case, it amounted to fraud and needed to be probed.

Mot­soaledi’s as­ser­tions con­tra­dicted state­ments by the chair­per­son of the port­fo­lio com­mit­tee on health, Lin­delwa Dun­jwa, who de­nied that driv­ers and clean­ers were car­ry­ing out post-mortems.

Dun­jwa said the di­rec­tor-gen­eral had only con­firmed that both health de­part­ments – national and pro­vin­cial – as well as the Gaut­eng De­part­ment of Labour were look­ing into all the chal­lenges.

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