The Democratic Alliance (DA) is shocked, but not surprised by the findings of the Daily Dispatch investigation of the state of the state morgues in the Eastern Cape and believes that the Department of Health (DOH) is in fact the rotting corpse itself.
The Portfolio Committee on Health must as a matter of urgency conduct oversight visits across the province and report their findings and recommendations directly to the provincial legislature where firm and substantial changes can be made. I will be writing to the chairperson of the committee to request such an intervention.
As shocking as it is to see the photograph of the dead baby simply discarded in a trash bucket, the larger, hard-hitting shock is the realisation of how far backwards the state of public healthcare has regressed in the Eastern Cape over the last few years.
Corpses stacked on top of each other, body parts lying on the floor, untrained staff and even SAPS members performing autopsies, decaying uncovered corpses in unrefrigerated storage… these are just some of the human indignities bestowed on the dead by the DOH.
All cultures within South Africa have respect for the dead and their corpses as such, yet DOH management, who cannot claim complete ignorance of the matter, have proven that they have nothing but disregard for the dead, their loved ones and most importantly even the most basic of human rights.
As shocking as it is, it does not come as a surprise, because in the space of the last two months the department has proven that it does not care for the mentally handicapped, mothers going through labour, newborn infants and hospital patients in general.
Healthcare in the Eastern Cape is regressing at an alarming state and is clearly on the verge of a total collapse! The healthcare system in the Eastern Cape needs to relooked and corrective measures need to be put into place before it is too late.
Some people think national intervention is a solution, but if one looks for example at the debacle with the current intervention in the Eastern Cape Department of Education, it is clear there is only one solution: one needs to get rid of the rot within the department. Until that happens, nothing will change.
I have written a letter to the Human Rights Commission regarding the Komani Psychiatric Hospital and maternal mortality rates issues and will be supplementing it with the injustices found at our state morgues.