‘Hospitals not doing enough’
LACK of control measures in public hospitals was a major factor contributing to the thousands of bodies lying unidentified in mortuaries, stakeholders said.
A case in point has been the death of a 23-year-old Pretoria student, who disappeared for two weeks. He has since died.
His family travelled to Pretoria from the Eastern Cape and found him at Steve Biko Academic Hospital’s intensive care unit.
He had head injuries and a broken shoulder blade.
According to the police, Mzuvukile Qaqoba was hit by a car.
Sunnyside SAPS spokesperson Captain Daniel Mavimbela said they took a statement from the motorist who allegedly hit the student and opened a case of culpable homicide.
Qaqoba was admitted as an unidentified patient on November 3, after he was discovered by paramedics on the side of a road in Arcadia, with no form of identification documents.
His family and the DA now say the hospital might have overlooked vital clues which could have helped identify him.
“The hospitals are not doing as much as they should be doing.
“They must look for clues to identify a person.
“In this case I think they might have overlooked vital clues,” DA provincial health spokesperson Jack Bloom said.
Qaqoba, a final-year financial marketing student at Rosebank College, was reported missing by his family in October. His mother told The Star’s sister paper, Pretoria News, the family learnt about his whereabouts after they started looking for him at various hospitals.
Bloom expressed a concern about the high number of unidentified and unclaimed bodies in state mortuaries across the province.
“Gauteng state mortuaries have 2 366 unclaimed and unidentified bodies since March last year,” he said.
He said MEC Dr Gwen Ramokgopa admitted this in response to his questions in the legislature.
“I am concerned by the high number of unidentified and unclaimed bodies. It is tragic that many families do not know the fate of their loved ones because they have been buried anonymously.
“There should be an internet site with controlled access so that people can try to identify those who have gone missing and are likely dead,” he said.
Bloom said according to Ramokgopa, the three major causes of unnatural deaths that required a post-mortem in state mortuaries were shootings, motor vehicle accidents and stab wounds.
MZUVUKILE Qaqoba, who was reported missing by his family and later found at the Steve Biko Academic Hospital, has since died.