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Durban - A Phoenix family say they have been waiting for their relative’s body to be fetched from King Edward VIII Hospital since Saturday.
Jayshree Dhannilall and her husband, Stars Govender, were shot outside their home in Phoenix two weeks ago.
Govender died at the scene. His funeral was held on Sunday.
Dhannilall died at King Edward hospital on Saturday.
Their relative, Maggie Naidoo, said Dhannilall’s funeral was scheduled for Tuesday morning.
The church was booked, a caterer had been hired, flowers had been bought, friends and family had taken leave from work and others had travelled from Johannesburg for the funeral, Naidoo said.
Naidoo said they were promised the body at 10.30am on Wednesday and the funeral had been arranged for 11am. When the undertaker went to fetch the body, the post-mortem was not done.
They were told the X-ray machine was broken and the body needed to be sent to Albert Luthuli Hospital.
But, there were no vans to take the body to the hospital for the X-ray.
The family is now contemplating legal action against the health department.
“On Saturday, the hospital told us that the post-mortem would only be done on Monday. But they said the body would be fetched by the mortuary staff. It never was.”
She said that when they arrived at the hospital on Monday morning, they were told that the mortuary van was on its way.
“We waited and waited but they never pitched,” she said.
“We eventually left the hospital at 4pm and went to the mortuary to make enquiries. That was when we found out about the strike.”
She said they had hoped the post-mortem would have been done by Monday evening.
“By yesterday morning, we were in a crisis. The body had still not been fetched from the hospital. I called the MEC’s office and was told that there was nothing they could do about the strike.”
“This is an essential service. They should not be on strike.”
Rekha Maharaj, of Thekwini Funeral Services in Magwaza Maphalala (Gale) Street, said they had been waiting for two bodies to be released from the mortuary since Monday.
She said one of the bodies needed to be transported to Tanzania.
When she called the mortuary on Monday, a worker told her that the fridges were “overloaded with bodies” and the “stench was unbearable”.
“The worker said they refused to go into the mortuary under those conditions.”
Maharaj said there was no indication when the bodies would be released to them.