Almost 300 unidentified bodies in Western Cape mortuaries during 2019

Over 495 unidentified bodies are currently in mortuary freezers across the Western Cape.

Department of Health provincial spokesperson Mark van der Heever says according to the law a body may be kept for a maximum of 30 days.

It is the duty of the police to track the family of the deceased and inform them where the body is being kept.

We have almost 300 bodies admitted this year alone that are unidentified.

Mark van der Heever, Spokesperson - Provincial Department of Health

A lot of family members do not report people missing, they do not approach our facilities to enquire of somebody matching a particular description has been admitted.

Mark van der Heever, Spokesperson - Provincial Department of Health

RELATED: Bodies stored in containers in Cape Town due to mortuary backlogs

Van der Heever says hundreds of boxes of ashes are left at the Salt River facility, with some dating back to 2012.

We've got more than 600 boxes of ashes but fortunately, those boxes do not take up a lot of space. We keep it there in case a family member approaches us and we are able to locate it.

Mark van der Heever, Spokesperson - Provincial Department of Health

We also have body parts and skeletons or even just a bone in some of our facilities that have been retained for specific things like forensics by SAPS.

Mark van der Heever, Spokesperson - Provincial Department of Health

Listen to the full interview below...


This article first appeared on CapeTalk : Almost 300 unidentified bodies in Western Cape mortuaries during 2019


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