Unidentified bodies from last year’s July unrest are still in the mortuary

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The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union [NEHAWU] in KwaZulu-Natal says it is shocked and disappointed with the state and working conditions their members are subjected to at Phoenix Forensic Mortuary.

NEHAWU Provincial Secretary Ayanda  Zulu said on numerous occasions, the union has raised this matter with both the management of the facility as well as the district management. Zulu added that their members are working under terrible conditions, environment that compromise or placing their lives at risk. “No proper PPE [Gloves,Gown,Musk] issued to them for the past three months. No Blades & Needles to cut and stitch bodies properly and there are no Chemicals to clean and disinfect, the mortuary smell is unbearable”.

Zulu said on 18th July 2022, the Provincial Office Bearers [POBs] of the union visited the Phoenix forensic mortuary facility to do a fact-finding and were left shocked and utterly dismayed at the state of the facility. “There are still unidentified bodies from last year’s July unrest and this year’s floods. What is also disappointing is that instead of the department fixing what has been raised above, they are now targeting our shopstewards who have been raising these issues. Currently, two of our shopstewards have been suspended”.

Zulu added that the union has long cautioned the department of health about the implications and shortcomings of closing the previous Gale Street Mortuary and the need to urgently address the issue of staff shortage in mortuaries.

“NEHAWU calls on the MEC of the Health to make an urgent intervention otherwise the union will be left with no option but to explore other avenues as part of defending its members”.

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