Simnikiwe Hlatshaneni
Premium Journalist
1 minute read
23 Jun 2017
5:15 am

Mortuary strike may end today

Simnikiwe Hlatshaneni

Workers would be encouraged to work overtime during the weekend to help reduce the backlog of bodies which have yet to be released to families.

File image for illustration purposes only.

Gauteng government mortuary workers could return to work today after a two-week strike, according to the National Education Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu).

Union spokesperson Khaya Xaba said yesterday that workers would be encouraged to work overtime during the weekend to help reduce the backlog of bodies which have yet to be released to families throughout Gauteng due to the strike.

“We had a meeting with the [health] department and we did reach a settlement,” he said.

“We are using today to consult with members and report back on the settlement so tomorrow we will decide whether to go back on site or not,” he said yesterday.

“We are talking to members about putting in overtime to deal with the backlog at the mortuaries.”

But the union, which represents 180 mortuary workers in the province, refused to comment on whether it would investigate allegations that drivers and cleaners at Gauteng mortuaries, some of whom are Nehawu members, had been performing post-mortems for the past 10 years.

Xaba said he had only heard about the allegations through the media and that the union did not have time to attend to “rumours”.

Earlier this week, national health director-general Malebona Precious Matsoso reportedly told the parliamentary portfolio committee on health that drivers and cleaners had been performing post-mortems.

On Wednesday, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi told The Star his department had launched an investigation into the allegations.

The Gauteng health department indicated that the investigation would be conducted by the national administration.

It said it would communicate “in due course” regarding the terms of the settlement reached with the unions.