KZN death certificate ‘scam’ exposed

2012-04-14 15:16

A forensic pathologist employed by the KwaZulu-Natal health department has allegedly been charging families for services he is supposed to provide for free.

But, months after being caught allegedly charging R250 to fill in cremation certificates, the said pathologist is still at work at the Phoenix Mortuary, north of Durban.

The department says it cannot terminate the pathologist’s contract until its investigation is completed. However, it says it has compelling evidence against the man – a private pathologist contracted to do some public sector work.

Spokesperson Chris Maxon said: “There are processes that need to be followed before any action is taken.

An investigation is currently under way and the outcome should tell us whether what (the pathologist) did was a criminal or disciplinable offence. Appropriate action will then be taken.”

The pathologist’s alleged activities were uncovered by the provincial health portfolio committee in February when it made an unannounced visit at the mortuary.

The committee found a receipt book detailing dates and amounts charged for a cremation certificate.

Upon questioning the contents of the receipt book, the committee members were told that district manager Penny Dladla had been notified of the alleged misdemeanours at the beginning of the year and had warned the pathologist to stop.

At a recent meeting, members of the committee criticised the department for not dealing with the pathologist accordingly.

Said one member, Nomakhikhi Majola: “What the doctor is doing is stealing and serious action should have been taken against him. He has no right to charge patients as he is contracted by the government.”

Both the DA and IFP in KwaZulu-Natal echoed Majola’s sentiments this week.

“The pathologist must be held accountable and all monies that have been charged should be given back to the public,” said Dr Usha Roopnarain (IFP).

“(Provincial) Health MEC Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo must give us a full report of how this happened and his (pathologist) contract must be reviewed.”

Makhosazana Mdlalose, the DA’s provincial spokesperson on health, said: “He (Dhlomo) must investigate how these payments were being accounted for and audited in departmental records.” 

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