By Wardah Wilkinson
The Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) second Deputy President and Chairperson Shaykh Riad Fataar met yesterday with the Premier of the Western Cape Helen Zille to discuss the backlog at forensic pathology services for Muslim autopsies. The premier contacted the MJC, following concerns expressed over the mortuary issue which has affected many Muslim families, says Shaykh Riad Fataar.
“The population has increased by 30% but there have been no budget increases. The increase in the number of unnatural deaths through violence and drugs has increased. We have indicated that this is a management and government issue that should have been looked at,” says Fataar.
“The premier had mentioned that she sees it fair and equitable to the Muslim community if the 24 hour arrangements [is] are held. It is something that is not unjust towards any other communities, which have different practices which need to respected,” he explained.
Zille explained how religious practices differ and why there is no need for an urgent autopsy to be done in other faiths.
The head of the Forensics Department at Tygerbrg, Ms Thompson who was present at the meeting, was addressed by Zille who had requested that where there are no complicated cases and the body has been identified, then the department should prioritize the post-mortem.
There has been a meeting been the MJC and Western Cape Department of Health (DoH) previously, where an agreement was reached that the time frame will be 48 hours if the person has died in hospital from natural causes, drowned, hit by a stray bullet or a motor vehicle accident, and more complicated cases a maximum of 3 days.
The MJC was assured by Zille that she will be discussing their concerns with the Western Cape MEC for Health Dr Nomafrench Nbombo.
“We asked that Janazahs or deaths should not politicized by anybody [politicians],” noted Fataar.
The MJC also addressed the issue of the water being distributed on Day Zero by the South African Breweries and stressed their objections to it.
“The Premier has promised that she has contacted cool drink bottling companies more available to the community. The Breweries water will not reach our schools and community,” he added.
The MJC will be waiting for a response from her office. VOC