From the news desk

Backlog of 176 bodies awaiting postmortem

The Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) will on Monday meet with the Western Cape Health Department to table recent issues relating to the slow release of Muslim bodies currently awaiting autopsies in the province’s mortuaries.  This as the metro’s Forensic Pathology Services (FPS) has a backlog of 176 bodies awaiting postmortem.

Speaking to VOC News, MJC deputy president and chairperson of the Muslim Cemetery Board shaykh Riad Fataar says that the meeting, which is scheduled for 14h00 on Monday, will primarily deal with the swift assessment and burials of Muslim bodies. He further notes that the speedy burial of the deceased is an issue that is “really important to the Muslim community.”

“We will emphasize to them that this is not a custom, but it is definitely a well-founded religious practice.

“We also indicate how sad and equally upset our community is about this and we hope to walk out [of the meeting] with an acceptance in terms of our rights [in the] Bill of Rights that this practice of prioritizing Muslim autopsies will happen,” Fataar stated.

Fataar says that the MEC for Health in the Western Cape Professor Nomafrench Mbombo  is also expected to be in attendance at the meeting.

In terms of the amount of Muslim bodies that currently await autopsies in the Western Cape, the shaykh says that at the moment the priority is the five bodies that were brought in between October 9 and 11, 2017. The bodies, he notes, are expected to be released on Monday.

Fataar says that the ulama body is seeking a settlement that will materialize into policy, ensuring the speedy assessment of Muslim bodies that require autopsies.

“There have been extra Muslim bodies that did come in…that is why a meeting like this is very important; we don’t want to call for a meeting every time there are bodies in the mortuary, so we have to come to a settlement.”

“The prioritising of Muslim autopsies is our agenda, how the Department of Health does this is their decision. But, our rights in terms of the Bill of Rights of South Africa are that that must be upheld.”

The shaykh confirmed that the MJC will be releasing a statement on the outcome of the meeting as soon as it is finalized.

Anyone who wishes to table concerns relating to the release of Muslim bodies awaiting autopsies can contact the MJC on (021) 684-4600.

VOC ,91.3fm




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