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DA calls for court action over Gauteng mortuary strike

Workers affiliated to South African Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) are demanding similar benefits to pathologists.

Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN

JOHANNESBURG – As health officials prepare to meet this week to try and find a solution to end the crippling strike by employees at Gauteng government mortuaries, the Democratic Alliance (DA) has called for an urgent court order against the work stoppage.

Some families have also now turned to the courts in an effort to bury their loved ones.

Over the weekend, a Muslim family was successful in its legal bid, forcing the Diepkloof government mortuary in Soweto to release the body of a 28-year-old man and perform an autopsy nearly two weeks after his death.

Workers affiliated to South African Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) are demanding similar benefits to pathologists.

The DA’s Jack Bloom has called on Gauteng health officials to take tougher steps to deal with the strike at government mortuaries which has left families frustrated and in despair.

“Bodies are piling up, they are putting more than one body in a fridge and I think the Gauteng Health Department needs to get tough.”

He says Gauteng Premier David Makhura also needs to step up and deal with the crisis.

“To make sure that he coordinates all department. There’s still some proper security because pathologists are concerned about their safety.”

While the Gauteng Health Department has sent in extra doctors to help perform autopsies it’s still unclear when the backlog will be cleared.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)

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