Residents asked to assist in identifying 57 bodies at Phoenix mortuary

The province's Health MEC Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu said they believed most of those there were killed in recent violence in Phoenix, but this was yet to be confirmed.

FILE: KwaZulu-Natal Health MEC Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu at the vaccination site by Moses Mabhida Stadium in KwaZulu-Natal. Picture: Abigail Javier/Eyewitness News

PHOENIX- Government authorities in KwaZulu-Natal are calling on residents to present themselves to the Phoenix Medico-Legal Mortuary to claim unidentified bodies.

This follows the recent violence in the area where residents clashed with looters. At the moment, the facility has 57 unidentified bodies.

The province's Health MEC Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu said they believed most of those there were killed in recent violence in Phoenix, but this was yet to be confirmed.

READ MORE: Don't take the law into your own hands - Minister Ntshaveni to Phoenix community

Simelane-Zulu said unidentified bodies at the Phoenix Medico-Legal Mortuary could not all be linked to recent violence in the area because the facility also catered for people from outside the community.

“The majority of them will come from the rest of the north of the province, not necessarily just Phoenix, but the bigger number, certainly comes from what had happened in Phoenix,” she said.

She said they were still trying to ascertain the cause of deaths for many in the facility.

“People did die in Phoenix, it's a point we cannot run away from. Now, we leave that particular element of it to the SAPS and to the security cluster to be able to identify how many people had passed on in relation to the unrest,” the MEC added.

The police's Lirandzu Themba said at their last count, they had identified 20 bodies linked to civil unrest in Phoenix last week.

WATCH: Unclaimed bodies in Phoenix rises to 57; not all deaths related to KZN violence

Download the Eyewitness News app to your iOS or Android device.