Government is considering relocating the controversial Gale Street Mortuary in Durban to Phoenix, north of the city, in an effort to address delays in releasing bodies.

The mortuary has also been plagued by numerous strikes and disputes regarding overtime pay.

According to the Chairperson of the oversight committee in the provincial legislature, Nomakiki Majola, they are currently holding consultations with unions, and members of the public on the issue after which government will take the final decision.

“The issue of saying let us pay for overtime – what is the reason for the overtime? That is where the department is coming (in) (and) looking at the situation of the Phoenix mortuary, which is accommodating 500 bodies. And as we are here, looking at the conditions, the status of infrastructure here, it does really necessitate, I would say, the use of Phoenix. But it cannot be done right now. There are processes that we must go through, starting with labour. Also, if we are going to displace them to Phoenix, we must have a plan of doing that.”

Meanwhile, the Democratic Alliance’s Rishigen Viranna has welcomed the oversight visits.

“We are particularly happy that forensic mortuaries have been included in the oversight visit. We know that there have been major crises at our mortuaries particularly when it comes to strikes and that autopsies have been delayed. This is particularly concerning. It delays the release of bodies to families as well as not allowing them to get emotional closure.”