MEC defends post-mortem decision
HEALTH MEC Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo defended his decision to recently help conduct postmortems while workers were on “sick leave”, saying it was the responsible thing to do for mourning families.
He was responding to the DA’s criticism that he was happy to abandon his duties so that he could be praised for conducting post-mortems.
The opposition also suggested that he would soon find himself performing the duties at all mortuary facilities around the province if he continued to ignore the workers’ grievances.
These comments come after Dhlomo conducted postmortems at the Port Shepstone mortuary for two days when staff at the Park Rynie State Mortuary had called in sick. The bodies had to be sent to Port Shepstone.
Dr Imran Keeka, the DA’s health spokesperson, accused Dhlomo of failing to urgently address the workers’ concerns to prevent the Park Rynie situation from recurring.
“It appears that Dhlomo will soon be abandoning his official duties yet again, in order to perform more post-mortems – this time across the entire province,” he said.
Mortuary workers handed a memorandum to the Department of Health last week and gave it six days to respond.
Dismissing the DA’s comments, Dhlomo said he could not allow such a crucial service to come to a standstill.
He said the workers were “obviously” away from work because they were not happy about something, but the service could not stop.
“Families were waiting to bury their loved ones and this essential service had to continue,” he said.
Keeka said Dhlomo had failed in his duty to give direction and avert such a crisis.
“The current unresolved situation will only bring more humiliation for the families who are already going through an immense amount of pain, suffering and grief,” he said.
Dhlomo was confident a strike would not take place. “I doubt it will come to that.”
He said if workers wanted to strike, it meant that their demands were genuine and they deserved to be listened to.
“I hope that the delegation would arrive at a resolution soon because we cannot afford to have such an essential service come to a halt,” he said.
Sfiso Dlamini, Public Services and Allied Workers Union spokesperson, said the feedback from the department, after a meeting with all the forensic managers last Friday, was not to their satisfaction.
He said the talk had deadlocked, and as a result, they had decided to shut down Durban’s Gale Street Medico-Legal Mortuary next week.