File picture: Boxer Ngwenya/ANA Pictures

DURBAN - The IFP on Wednesday called on President Cyril Ramaphosa to urgently intervene in the ongoing mortuary strike in KwaZulu-Natal which has affected many families.  

Staff at provincial government mortuaries have embarked on a go-slow for two weeks now demanding a wage increase and protesting "unbearable" working conditions such as broken air-conditioners, broken toilets, old uniforms and lack of cleaning equipment.

Last week, KZN MEC of Health, Sibongiseni Dhlomo, was forced to take matters into his own hands and donned his surgical gloves and performed two autopsies as the forensic pathology services ground to a halt at the Fort Napier Medico-Legal Mortuary in Piertermaritzburg.

Ncamisile Nkwanyana, IFP spokesperson on health, blamed KZN Premier Willies Mchunu for the impasse, saying that his failure to intervene in this matter was a clear indication that he was not concerned about the plight of the citizens of the province.

"As the IFP we would expect that the Premier will break his silence on the situation unfolding in KwaZulu-Natal and speak out against the actions of the KZN Department of Health. Therefore, it is high time now that the President intervenes in this matter," Nkwanyana said. 

"Urgent intervention is imperative because it is unacceptable for family members to wait for the bodies of their deceased relatives. The president must do this under his “Thuma Mina campaign” aimed to improve service delivery. Now as the IFP we are urging him to fulfill this promise. We are saying Honourable President, the time has come, to lend your hand and deal decisively with challenges facing workers in KZN mortuaries."

Nkwanyana said if the mortuary workers do not work efficiently and preserve dead bodies, the public could be exposed to serious infectious diseases.

African News Agency (ANA)