Friday 19th Apr 2019

Sibongile Mashaba and Sthembiso Sithole - The Star - 

Some of the people who descended upon the Germison Mortuary demanding the release of the bodies of their loved ones. - 

Johannesburg - The Germiston Mortuary facility was the scene of a commotion on Thursday morning when angry families demanded that the bodies of their loved ones be released.

Frustrated grieving families have been going to the facility all week but have not assisted due to an ongoing strike by forensic pathologists over lack of protective clothing, including gloves. The families said management told them that there were not enough gloves and equipment forensic pathologists needed to perform their duties.

One of those frustrated was Lawrence Badenhorst, who sat quietly on the benches, oblivious to the people banging tables and shouting at the facility manager Bheki Mkhabela in the reception area. Badenhorst said he still needed to identify the body of his sister Lize who is alleged to have committed suicide on September 1.

"There is no respect for people. There is a total disregard for our rights and dignity. How can management fail to give people gloves so that they can be able to do their work," Badenhorst said.

The families also demanded to speak to the Acting CEO Dr MP Morule. Mkhabela told them that Morule was unable to come to them as he was working. That led to family members shouting and asking more questions.

Cluster Manager of the facility, Moeketsi Ramatsa, was cornered in one of the corridors by the families and confirmed that forensic pathologists don’t have equipment. “We need more gloves. We need other protective clothing. We are still busy in a meeting and we will get back to you,” he said.

The families didn’t take kindly to that. “Today is the day. We are not going anywhere," said one man.

Police had to be called to calm the situation. In March, forensic pathologists from across the province embarked on an unprotected strike over lack of training. The employees alleged that they were required to carry out the dissection and evisceration functions despite the fact that they were not trained for it. They said these duties should be performed by qualified doctors.

@SthembisoMedia The Star

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