Unclaimed corpses pile up in Gauteng despite thorough identification process

Head of forensic pathology at Wits University Professor Jeanine Vellema says there remains a high number of unclaimed corpses admitted to its facilities despite a thorough identification process.

Vellema who is in charge of eight facilities in the southern cluster of Gauteng, says the Johannesburg facility has at least 350 people per year who will never be identified. These are individuals who have died of unnatural deaths.

Vellema says the bodies are often of migrants. She says a wealth of information is kept about the individuals in case family members approach the facilities in search of their loved ones.

With my young scientists, we collect a lot of data and information about every single unidentified person. The clothing they were wearing, jewellery, which we keep in any case and we keep photographs.

Professor Jeanine Vellema, Head - orensic Pathology

We try and match what they have in their minds as their lived ones with the features - when did we find the body, when did the body arrive, when did they lose contact with their loved ones - and then we can try and match up what they have with what we have in our records.

Professor Jeanine Vellema, Head - orensic Pathology

Beyond our borders we have the ICRC who will take that out into international communities to try and match the information we have with who they might have in their area or community who might have gone missing.

Professor Jeanine Vellema, Head - orensic Pathology

We feel and I suspect we are the province where we probably have the highest numbers and percentages of identified people...

Professor Jeanine Vellema, Head - orensic Pathology

Click on the link below to hear more...


Recommended

by NEWSROOM AI
Read More
WastePreneurs wins first part of legal bid to remain on Pirates Club property

WastePreneurs wins first part of legal bid to remain on Pirates Club property

Chairman of the Adopt a Project Initiative Steve Jourdan gives the details.

[LISTEN] How UCT located the burial sites of nine unethically obtained skeletons

[LISTEN] How UCT located the burial sites of nine unethically obtained skeletons

The Afternoon Drive's Joanne Joseph spoke to the university's archaeology department emeritus associate professor Simon Hall.

 'Climatologists predict more adverse weather,' says expert

'Climatologists predict more adverse weather,' says expert

Joanne Joseph speaks to University of KwaZulu-Natal agrometeorology specialist Dr Alistair Clulow in light of the latest storms.

Graça Machel advocates planting of trees to reduce effects of climate change

Graça Machel advocates planting of trees to reduce effects of climate change

University of Cape Town chancellor Graça Machel is attending the 6th Congress of UCLG in Durban.

[LISTEN] Disaster management teams deployed to parts of KZN

[LISTEN] Disaster management teams deployed to parts of KZN

Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs says it is monitoring the situation in the wake of severe storms.

SIU tribunal going after Life Esidimeni NPOs for overcharging the state

SIU tribunal going after Life Esidimeni NPOs for overcharging the state

Tribunal spokesperson Selby Makgotho says there is a prima facie evidence of wrongdoing, malpractices and irregularities.

Popular articles
Can’t find your phone? Drop everything – thieves can get into your banking app!

Can’t find your phone? Drop everything – thieves can get into your banking app!

Did someone steal your phone? Contact your bank without hesitation warns consumer journalist Wendy Knowler.

'Unions are making a mistake. SAA is dying. It’s not Eskom – we don’t need it'

'Unions are making a mistake. SAA is dying. It’s not Eskom – we don’t need it'

SAA is on its knees, cap in hand, asking taxpayers for R2 billion this month. Unions must be careful, warns Guy Leitch (SA Flyer).

[WATCH] Jozi motorist avoids hailstorm with inventive way to cover car

[WATCH] Jozi motorist avoids hailstorm with inventive way to cover car

Khabazela shares tweets and Facebook posts that have gone viral.

Unions and SAA get ready for fight that threatens to break the ailing airline

Unions and SAA get ready for fight that threatens to break the ailing airline

Joanne Joseph plays audio from the media briefing over the impending strike.

White pupils at posh Kingswood College refer to black scholars as 'snoobab'

White pupils at posh Kingswood College refer to black scholars as 'snoobab'

"This problem is bigger than just a Kingswood problem. The relevant processes will unfold," says College Head Colleen Vassiliou.

Investors need to understand redress and sensitivities, says Eusebius

Investors need to understand redress and sensitivities, says Eusebius

Eusebius engages callers on the Richard Branson tweet that has been widely criticised for lacking diversity.

[WATCH] Pre-school class erupts as boy returns from RWC, goes viral

[WATCH] Pre-school class erupts as boy returns from RWC, goes viral

Khabazela shares tweets and Facebook posts that have gone viral.

We’ll shut you down! – unions to SAA ('overstaffed by any measure globally’)

We’ll shut you down! – unions to SAA ('overstaffed by any measure globally’)

The money-pit airline is fighting for its life. Bruce Whitfield interviews Theto Mahlakoana, a senior political reporter at EWN.