Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Health, Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo, has described the delays in conducting post-mortems at the Park Rynie Mortuary as a result of poor infrastructure and staff constraints, as “unacceptable”.
Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)
Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Health, Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo, has described the delays in conducting post-mortems at the Park Rynie Mortuary as a result of poor infrastructure and staff constraints, as “unacceptable”. Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)

KZN mortuary comes under fire because of delays

By Sakhiseni Nxumalo Time of article published Jul 1, 2020

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Durban - The chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Health, Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo, has described the delays in conducting post-mortems at the Park Rynie Mortuary as a result of poor infrastructure and staff constraints, as “unacceptable”.

Dhlomo visited the mortuary at the weekend to support the families of those gunned down in uMbumbulu last week.

“I wanted to assist the families so that they can bury their loved ones over the weekend.”

He said he was surprised to find there wasn’t a doctor on duty, as the only doctor employed in the facility was on leave.

After assessing and making observations, Dhlomo called the doctor, who returned to the facility to brief him on the challenges they faced.

“The facility does not have an X-ray machine, meaning that all victims of shootings and other violent deaths have to be sent to other facilities. This causes delays when conducting post-mortems,” said Dhlomo. The Park Rynie Mortuary serves a large community on the South Coast stretching from uMbumbulu to beyond Umkomaas.

“With the closure of Gale Street Mortuary, the whole of uMlazi and Isipingo - a community of more than 1.5 million people - is now served by one mortuary. When doctors working at Gale Street were given a choice of a mortuary, none chose Park Rynie, and the vacant posts at Park Rynie remain unfilled,” said Dhlomo.

In a bid to ease the backlog of post-mortems, Dhlomo said he would go to the mortuary tomorrow to assist the doctor, who had cancelled his leave.

“I want to see my community burying their loved ones,” said Dhlomo.

“On the day I was at the facility there were 13 bodies with gun shots. They will have to be sent somewhere else for X-rays. This truly creates unnecessary delays and wasting of resources.

“The situation at Park Rynie mortuary is totally unacceptable. I will be discussing the matter with Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize.

“There are too many irregularities there. There are no doctors and also it delays the process to transport bodies to other facilities for X-rays. I am not going to be prescriptive, but when someone is shot, the body needs to be processed immediately.”

The spokesperson for the KZN Department of Health, Ntokozo Maphisa, said: “We are not aware of any official visit by the portfolio committee chairperson and have not been officially engaged in this regard, as per normal procedure. The department denies the allegation that there are no doctors at the facility.

“In fact, there was a doctor present yesterday.

“The facility has another part-time doctor, and is in the process of recruiting another one. There is no backlog of mortal remains at the facility.

“Although there is currently no X-ray unit at the facility (and there are plans to procure one), mortal remains that require this facility for processing are sent to either the Phoenix or Port Shepstone mortuaries.”

The Mercury

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