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70,000 blood samples yet to be tested

Thousands of samples to be used in drunken driving cases and post-mortems are currently awaiting testing.

FILE: Blood test samples. Picture: Free Images.

JOHANNESBURG - Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has revealed a backlog of nearly 70,000 blood samples that are yet to be tested at government laboratories due to a lack of facilities and staff.

He said hopes have been raised that the opening of a new lab in KwaZulu-Natal will relieve the pressure.

Thousands of blood samples to be used in drunken driving cases and post-mortems are currently waiting testing at the Cape Town, Johannesburg and Pretoria pathology labs.

This has led to a waiting period of up to 11 months for results which are crucial in court cases.

The Democratic Alliance met with Motsoaledi last week and Member of Parliament, Wilmot James, says once the KZN lab comes online, greater efficiency can be expected.

"It will take the load off the Pretoria lab because that lab has been dealing with all KZN samples and it will also take the load off the Cape Town lab, which has been dealing with the Eastern Cape samples. It will make a huge difference as staff will be able to do normal work."