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Undertaker Highlights Issues At Ga-Rankuwa Government Mortuary

Undertaker Highlights Issues At Ga-Rankuwa Government Mortuary..  Bodies received by grieving families from the government mortuary in Ga-Rankuwa near Pretoria have allegedly often been in a poor state.

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Undertaker Highlights Issues At Ga-Rankuwa Government Mortuary

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A local undertaker said this was because an emergency generator meant to kick in during power failures and load-shedding has been dysfunctional since February.

Gauteng health MEC Dr Nomathemba Mokgethi said there was some truth to these allegations in a written response to a question by DA shadow health MEC Jack Bloom.

She revealed the facility’s emergency generator was dysfunctional which could have contributed to bodies not being properly frozen. She, however, denied that families received decomposed bodies.

“There is no recorded complaint regarding a decomposed body that has been received even though the facility had an incident of electricity blackout due to Eskom substation that collapsed on February 26.

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“It was so unfortunate that the backup generator could not kick start and a call was made to the DID (Department of Infrastructure Development) on February 26, reporting the incident,” Mokgethi said in her response.

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She pointed out that the collapse of the substation as well as frequent load-shedding and electricity reductions in the Ga-Rankuwa area, contributed to the situation.

“In case of load-shedding, bodies are temporarily stored in freezer storage and taken out early in the morning for post-mortem.”

A funeral undertaker that lifted the lid on the poor state of affairs at the mortuary spoke to TimesLIVE on the condition of anonymity for fear of being victimised.

The funeral parlour owner, who has been in business for more than 30 years, said he has never seen such a bad situation. He said sometimes they collected bodies that were in a bad state and they would fight with grieving families as they could not meet their demands and expectations.

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“Most of our customers like to have the body overnight at their family home to observe some rituals and cultural practices that they deem important. When a body is in a decomposed state, we, unfortunately, don’t send it to the family home a night before. We only send it in the morning for health and hygienic reasons.”

He said he had previously tried to address it with the staff at the mortuary but had received no joy.

“I then thought of reporting it to the DA’s Jack Bloom because I can see he keeps officials on their toes.”

The undertaker said though the problem is not yet resolved, he is hopeful because it has caught the attention of the health MEC and he expected to see results soon.

In her response, Mokgethi said GDID’s regional office in Tshwane is still waiting for approval for the appointment of a contractor by the provincial DID supply chain management unit.

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Bloom said the root of the problem is poor service from GDID, which is responsible for the generators at Gauteng’s eight provincial mortuaries.

“This distressing saga highlights once again the necessity of the DA’s call to shut down the dysfunctional and corrupt GDID and devolve maintenance to health facilities who will do a better job,” Bloom said.

Mokgethi said families were informed through word of mouth of all these challenges and that bodies are transferred to Pretoria Forensic Pathology Service. They should expect some delays due to electricity blackouts. She advised them to follow the departmental complaint procedures should they wish to do so.

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