Corpses left at accident scenes while Eastern Cape Forensic Pathology employees strike. Jane Cowley, Eastern Cape shadow MEC for health writes that since Friday last week, people declared dead at accident scenes in the Butterworth district and in the Buffalo City Metro have simply been left on the side of the road for hours, because Forensic Pathology employees are on strike over unpaid overtime and standby allowances. According to the striking workers, the overtime and standby allowances have not been paid since the April this year, despite promises made by the department head, Dr Mbengashe.
The Eastern Cape Health Department has been forced to negotiate with private funeral parlours to collect the deceased from accident scenes while the strike continues, resulting in significant delays in retrieving the decaying corpses.
That the dignity of individuals who have tragically lost their lives, and the suffering of their families, have become a bargaining chip in a wage dispute is beyond reprehensible. This is a sign of a declining healthcare system that has lost sight of its core mandate of providing access to healthcare to the people of this province. Instead we have a system of blatant mismanagement that has resulted in spiralling medico-legal claims, mismanagement of personnel, mismanagement of finances and employment of incompetent cadres.
I have written to the MEC for Health, Sindiswa Gomba, to request that the matter of unpaid overtime be addressed as a matter of urgency so that Forensic Pathology services are restored before more of the taxpayer’s money is wasted.