KwaZulu-Natal Health Department spokesperson Desmond Motha confirmed on Wednesday that KwaZulu-Natal health MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo will personally perform post-mortems at the Park Rynie State Mortuary.
This comes after services at Park Rynie Mortuary were disrupted. The disruption was caused by the absence of over 12 forensic pathology officers, who claimed to be sick at the same time.
The officers, whose duty is to assist doctors are said to be missing from work, claiming to be sick.
Speaking to reporters shortly before heading to the mortuary, Health MEC Dhlomo said he had to get a permission first from KwaZulu-Natal Premier Willies Mchunu.
“Today is a provincial cabinet, but the premier was very understanding and gave me permission to come here. I will be catching up with my official duties as MEC when I am done here,” he said.
As a medical professional, the MEC said he believes the average South African should be considered first no matter the circumstances.
“What I want to do is bring the families that are in mourning some relief and some final peace. I have promised the families that I will do everything humanly possible to ensure they bury their loved ones timeously.”
Commenting about the officers who reportedly feigned sickness, MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo said he would comment about their absence until he receives a report on it.
“In terms of what happened with the officers, I cannot speak to that at the moment. I am awaiting a report on that. Perhaps they have valid complaints or maybe they do not. I am open to hearing their concerns.”
He, however, expressed deep concern that people who rely on their services might be passing through difficult stress.
“To lose your loved one is traumatic. No family should be this stressed by death. They are in a very sensitive space at the moment. I am here as an MEC but also as a concerned citizen. I want to make sure these people find peace,” Dhlomo added.
Meanwhile, the KZN Health Department confirmed that it has transferred all the bodies from the Park Rynie facility to Port Shepstone mortuary where eight post-mortems will be performed today and the rest in the coming days.
It is worthy to note that MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo is a qualified medical doctor with postgraduate forensic pathology from the College of Medicine of South Africa.
He also holds the following qualifications:
MBCHB from the University of Natal;
Diploma in Tropical Medicine and Hygiene from Wits University;
Diploma in Project Management from Damelin College;
Diploma in HIV Management from College of Medicines SA;
Diploma in Palliative Care from UCT;
Post Graduate Diploma in Business Management from the University of KwaZulu-Natal.