Councillor Nigel Gawthrope died while scuba diving at Umkomaas last week.
Picture: Twitter
Councillor Nigel Gawthrope died while scuba diving at Umkomaas last week. Picture: Twitter

KZN Health to prioritise autopsies of metro cop, British mayor

By Thobeka Ngema Time of article published Jan 18, 2019

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Durban - The Department of Health said the post-mortems of two high-profile victims - metro police officer Inspector Johan Deysel and the Mayor of Cambridge Nigel Gawthrope - would be completed by Friday, despite the backlog in post-mortems created by a strike.

Deysel, 59, was knocked down and killed when he tried to stop a taxi in eManzimtoti, south of Durban, during a roadblock on Friday evening.

Metro police held the roadblock after complaints by a councillor that taxis and vehicles disregarded the stop signs outside Galleria Mall.

Gawthrope, 61, died while scuba diving at Aliwal Shoal on the South Coast, also on Friday.

He had been on holiday with his wife, Jenny, when it is thought he suffered a heart attack.

It was reported that he had gone into cardiac arrest shortly after surfacing from a dive.

Bodies started piling up at government mortuaries across the province when staff embarked on a go-slow, which then escalated into a strike, over poor working conditions - such as broken toilets, broken air-conditioners, old uniforms and a lack of cleaning equipment.

Early last month, mortuary staff from Fort Napier and Gale Street mortuaries were arrested for contravening a court order to return to work.

Department spokesperson Ncumisa Mafunda said there was currently no go-slow.

Metro police inspector Johan Deysel

“Park Rynie mortuary has a number of autopsies still to be conducted because of the number of bodies that were received during the festive season,” Mafunda said.

She said the two high-profile cases would be completed by the end of the week.

“Only two post-mortems are being conducted daily at the Park Rynie mortuary. To make matters worse, the only resident doctor at this mortuary is on leave this week,” said Dr Imran Keeka, the DA’s provincial spokesperson on Health.

He said they believed Gawthrope’s body would be transferred to the Gale Street mortuary for the post-mortem, given the circumstances surrounding his death.

“However, there is no such plan for the body of the officer, despite an urgent request from a local magistrate. To make matters worse, there is also the potential for this matter to spill into an unfavourable international incident,” said Keeka.

Daily News

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