Mortuary takes 5 hours to collect crash body

2012-04-23 00:00

A MORTUARY van took more than five hours to collect a body at the scene of an accident in Howick yesterday.

Waiting with the corpse, in the rain, was uMngeni Municipality councillor Sithembiso Nkuna from Ward 4, who was outraged.

“Is this what we call a ‘service’?” he asked angrily.

The van from the mortuary only arrived at 5.45 pm — as Nkuna was speaking to The Witness — to pick up the deceased. The accident had happened at 12.45 pm.

“As a councillor, I want to bring this to the attention of the Department of Health,” he said.

The responsibility for mortuaries across the country was transferred from the South African Police Service to the Department of Health six years ago, he said.

“Does the Department of Health know what it is doing?” he asked.

Nkuna said the accident happened when a car failed to stop at a red traffic light, and crashed into another.

“The police were on the scene by 1 pm,” he said.

An ambulance had arrived shortly afterwards, and people who were injured were taken to hospital. The person that died had been in the car that had failed to stop, he said.

“It was later discovered that the driver of the vehicle that failed to stop had been unlicensed, and also under the influence of alcohol,” Nkuna added. The driver had since been taken into police custody.

However, Nkuna was outraged at what he described as a lack of a service.

KwaZulu-Natal spokesperson Captain Thulani Zwane confirmed that the driver had been arrested, and that he did not have a driver’s licence.

However, he could not confirm whether or not he was under the influence of alcohol.

“He is expected to appear in the Howick Magistrate’s Court today,” he said.

Multiple attempts to contact the Department of Health yesterday afternoon and evening proved unsuccessful.

• lunga.biyela@witness.co.za

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