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Mortuaries don't stop decomposition process, Esidimeni hearing told

Daniel Buda testified in Parktown on Thursday and had to explain why the bodies of two patients were at an advanced stage of decomposition.

Manager of the Mamelodi Hospital mortuary Daniel Buda testifying at the Esidimeni arbitration hearing on 30 November 2017. Picture: Masego Rahlaga/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The manager of the Mamelodi hospital mortuary has told the Esidimeni hearings that a corpse decomposes after three months even if it's kept in a functional morgue.

Daniel Buda testified in Parktown on Thursday.

Buda was mainly called to explain why the bodies of two patients from Life Esidimeni were at an advanced stage of decomposition when the Mamelodi hospital handed them over to their respective families.

The patients were Joseph Gumede and Charity Ratsotso, whose loved ones only found out months later that they had died.

Buda says mortuaries don’t completely stop the process of decomposition.

“It spent months in the mortuary. When you check the body, the fluids will no longer be there, and that informs decomposition and the smell on top.”

At least 143 psychiatric patients died after the Gauteng Health Department terminated its contract with the Life Esidimeni group, allegedly to save costs.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)