File photo: African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town - The delay in the release of the body of Gift of the Givers volunteer Ameeroedien Noordien brought to light the pressure faced by state mortuaries, with the Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) saying there were 70 similar cases in the past week.

Noordien, who was shot dead at the weekend in Hanover Park, could not be buried in accordance with the Muslim burial custom because of a backlog at a state mortuary.

This was despite an agreement between the MJC and the Department of Health to address the issue.

Muslim families were forced to wait for the bodies of their loved ones as a result of a backlog last year.

MJC spokesperson Mishka Daries said: “We agreed that the bodies would be released within 48 hours, but now we are finding that there has been an increase in the number of bodies that are arriving.”

The MJC called for an urgent meeting with the department after receiving calls from Muslim families who were waiting for bodies because of delays in finalising post-mortems.

Daries said while Muslim families had preference, the backlog affects many other non-Muslim families.

Noordien was killed when he was caught in a cross-fire near his home last Friday.

His cousin, Tauriq Moses, said: “We waited since Friday evening for the body and we only got it on Tuesday afternoon.

“It did affect us because we are not used to the idea of waiting so long.”

The Emergency Medical and Forensic Pathology Services spokesperson, Robert Daniels, said they would release a statement today on the state of the mortuaries.

Cape Times