The National Education Health and Allied Workers’ Union [Nehawu], Democratic Alliance [DA] and Economic Freedom Fighters[EFF] on Thursday called on Gauteng Health Department to immediate investigate why dead human bodies were transported in an open trailer without documentations.
This follows an incident in which the wheel of a trailer went off on the M1 Freeway, Johannesburg, leaving coffins containing 42 bodies including 26 stillborn babies for more than six hours exposed to the sun while alternative transport was being arranged.
The corpses were being transported from the Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital to Olifantsvlei cemetery, south of Johannesburg for pauper’s burials.
“We blame this gruesome act on the outsourcing of key government functions to the private sector,” said Nehawu.
Nehawu said the private undertaker transporting the bodies cut corners possibly to save costs and used an open trailer to transport corpses, saying dead bodies also deserved to be treated with respect and should be transported using a suitable form of transportation.
Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) had expressed shock and disgust towards the incompetent Gauteng Health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa following an open trailer incident carrying 42 corpses.
“EFF Public Safety Committee member Donald Mabunda went to inspect the scene, upon arrival, he discovered that the trailer’s wheel had dislodged. When the Johannesburg Metro Police Department arrived, they find out that the driver of the trailer did not have any documentation to show he is transporting the bodies in a registered mortuary nor hospital documentation to move the bodies,” said EFF.
Therefore EFF calls on the Gauteng Premier, David Makhura to first suspend the Ramokgopa for incompetency and conduct a full investigation upon the Provincial Department of Health.
“As the EFF we want to understand who gave orders to transport over two dozens of dead bodies in this matter, clearly there is something terribly wrong happening in this department, we have moved from a very bad situation, Life Esidimeni massacre to a worse situation. Both these incidents concern the state of human beings,” said Mabunda.
Democratic Alliance Gauteng Shadow Health MEC, Jack Bloem said he was horrified by the incident.
“The Gauteng Health Department needs to investigate this incident which shows disrespect for the dead being transported in an unsuitable vehicle. I hope that dignified burials can be arranged for the bodies as soon as possible,” said Bloem.
Gauteng Health Department said it will launch an investigation to establish why the bodies were transported in an open trailer.