Over 900 unclaimed bodies in Gauteng mortuaries

The Gauteng health department has raised concerns about the increasing number of unclaimed and unidentified bodies at the Forensic Pathology Service (FPS).

On Monday, the provincial department said there were 938 unclaimed bodies in various Gauteng mortuaries.

Gauteng Health and Wellness MEC Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko said Pretoria had the most number of unclaimed bodies at 263. It was followed by Johannesburg with 187 and Germiston with 127. Sebokeng has 94 bodies, Ga-Rankuwa, 69, while both Springs and Diepkloof had 49, Carletonville, 45, Roodepoort, 38, Bronkhorstspruit has eight bodies and Heidelberg has nine. The MEC added:

It is very concerning that the number is increasing by the day. Some families have been looking for their loved ones, not knowing where they are. We encourage them to visit FPS mortuaries to check on their loved ones so that they can give them a proper burial.
She said family members or relatives who wished to identify their loved ones should have an original ID and the ID of the deceased or a birth certificate if the deceased was a child.

“If the deceased is a foreign national, a passport, asylum seeker certificate or a letter from the country of origin confirming who the deceased is and to whom the remains should be handed over are needed. Once a body is not identified or claimed within seven days, fingerprints are captured into the SAPS criminal record centre for identification and to the department of home affairs for (attempts at) matching their records,” she explained.

She says if the body is unidentified 30 days after exhausting means of identification, pauper burial processes for the deceased are then followed.

“We call on families and relatives of missing persons to visit FSP mortuaries in the province to check if their loves ones are not part of the unclaimed or unidentified bodies.”

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