Gauteng has a plan to deal with deaths as funeral parlours strike, says MEC

16 September 2020 - 16:09 By Nonkululeko Njilo
Members of the Unification Task Team (UTT) protested outside Baragwanath Academic Hospital in Soweto on Monday over long-standing grievances.
Members of the Unification Task Team (UTT) protested outside Baragwanath Academic Hospital in Soweto on Monday over long-standing grievances.
Image: Nonkululeko Njilo / TimesLIVE

The department of forensic pathology services in Gauteng has partnered with the provincial emergency medical services (EMS) to help collect the remains of those who die at home during the funeral undertakers' strike.

Acting health MEC Jacob Mamabolo visited Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital in Soweto on Wednesday to assess the affect of the strike.  

“We are satisfied with how Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital is handling the management of bodies during this period,” he said.

A handful of protesters have been gathered outside the hospital since Monday. They protested in song, holding aloft a coffin as part of their demonstration.

Mamabolo said there had been similar demonstrations at other facilities but assured residents that mortuaries had not been affected.

Explaining the contingency plan, provincial health spokesperson Kwara Kekana said the EMS team was the central co-ordination point, working with other stakeholders for the collection of bodies.

The protesting undertakers have vowed not to halt the protest until their demands are addressed by the government. These include the allocation of Covid-19 relief funding for the funeral industry, with immediate effect.  

Kekana said law enforcement officials had been roped in to contain the strike and help families during the protest.

“The department has also enlisted the help of soldiers to assist at facilities for the duration of and post the strike action to ensure that bodies are processed quickly and handed over to families,” she said.

“Community members in Gauteng are encouraged to contact the Gauteng EMS emergency line as a first point of call for assistance with regards to collection of bodies in their homes.

“Gauteng EMS can be contacted on 112 from your cellphone or 10177 from a landline.” 

TimesLIVE


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