Over 2,000 bodies lie unclaimed or unidentified in Gauteng mortuaries

Gauteng state mortuaries have held 2,366 unclaimed or unidentified bodies since March 2017.

The DA’s Jack Bloom said on Tuesday that this was revealed in a response to questions sent by the party to provincial health MEC Gwen Ramakgopa in the Gauteng legislature.

Ramakgopa said there were 2,287 bodies that had not been identified and 79 that were unclaimed between April 2017 and October 2018.

“This is 8.5% of the total number of 27,737 bodies stored in the mortuaries over this period,” said Bloom.

Shootings, car accidents and stab wounds were identified as the three major causes of unnatural deaths that required postmortems in state mortuaries.   

Bloom expressed concern about the number of unclaimed and unidentified bodies, saying many families might be in the dark about their loved ones.

“It is tragic that many families do not know the fate of their loved ones because they have been buried anonymously after suffering a violent death,” he said.

Bloom raised concerns that some of the 21 Life Esidimeni patients who were still missing might have died and not been identified at a mortuary.

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