Boy (3) finally bu­ried

2018-11-21 15:30
A file image of the Pietermaritzburg Medico-Legal Mortuary during the go-slow strike by staff members.

A file image of the Pietermaritzburg Medico-Legal Mortuary during the go-slow strike by staff members.

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A Pietermaritzburg mother who had to postpone her toddler’s funeral three times due to the ongoing illegal strike action at the Fort Napier Medico-Legal Mortuary, finally buried him on Sunday. 

Nomusa Msomi (27) from Edendale had to wait over 10 days to bury her three-year-old son Kwanda who died on November 1 at Edendale Hospital after a short illness.

Msomi said prior to the bodies being sent to Durban for post postmortems, she had pleaded with officials on three occasions to release her son’s body in time for burial.

She said that on Thursday, November 8, she went to the mortuary where she was told she could not take her child’s body because the officials were on strike.

“They told me to come back on Monday. I was shattered. It was like someone was rubbing salt into my fresh wound. I felt so helpless. I couldn’t eat or sleep knowing my son was lying there unattended,” she said.

Msomi said that following Monday, she went back to the mortuary and again was told that the body would not be released.

“The officials were very insensitive and spoke to us rudely. They abruptly dismissed us and told me that my child’s body was taken to Durban for an autopsy — I was given no indication of when [my] child’s body would be released.

“I had lost my child and on top of the emotional trauma of preparing for his funeral, I had to endure the torment of not being able to bury him. I do not wish what I felt on anyone ... not even my worst enemy,” she said.

Msomi went back to the mortuary again last Tuesday but the child’s body was only released last Thursday.

On Monday, the KZN Health Department said the backlog caused by the illegal strike had been cleared.

It said there have subsequently been threats to destabilise normal operations at other mortuaries in the province.

The department said the workers’ concerns are being dealt with at the National Bargaining Council with Organised Labour.

“Regrettably, however, this has not stopped certain employees from staying away from work illegally and apparently tampering with certain infrastructure such as the air-conditioning system ... to adversely affect normal operations. Others have also suspiciously called in sick in large numbers, failing to report for duty,” said the department.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  mortuary strike
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