Over 2000 unclaimed bodies in govt mortuaries: Phaahla

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Health Minister Dr. Joe Phaahla says there are over 2000 unclaimed bodies in government mortuaries countrywide.

Phaahla was responding to a parliamentary question.

He says KwaZulu-Natal has the highest number of unclaimed bodies.

Chief Director for Hospital Services in the Health Department, Dr. Relebohile Ncha, says the identification of the bodies takes a while to be completed before they can be buried as paupers.

Ncha says, “It can actually go from about seven days to about a year or so that the bodies are remaining there and I think the main reason is that in the identification process that we’re trying to follow, it does take a while because we have to involve the SAPS, where they try to assist us with fingerprints. So that process of trying to identify them before we take them as pauper burials does become a bit of a long period of identification that takes place.”

PODCAST: Full interview with Dr. Relebohile Ncha on unclaimed bodies: