South Africa’s Muslim community files plea as mortuaries run out of space

 

Dead Muslim bodies continue to accumulate as mortuaries in Cape Town, South Africa face a backlog.

The families concerned contacted the Muslim Judicial Council which has written to the Western Cape MEC for Health Nomafrench Mbobo to request a meeting.

“We’ve had queries from two families who asked us to assist them with retrieving bodies [of deceased family members]‚” spokesperson for the MJC Mishka Daries said.

“With Islamic [belief] the body preferably needs to be buried within 24 hours after the person has died. It’s taken quite a while and the families have been waiting for two or three days now. We have inquired with the provincial minister of health to engage in a meeting to ask how we can expedite the process.”

The provincial health department released a warning statement on Wednesday informing the public of delays in finalising post mortems‚ as its Forensic Pathology Services (FPS) in the metropolis was handling high caseloads.

“This has resulted in us being unable to prioritise cases‚” the statement read.

“Cases will now be allocated and autopsies performed in chronological order. We do recognise that the time of bereavement is a stressful and difficult period and for this reason, we are doing everything we can to speed up but also streamline the process.”

Daries believed the rise in gang violence in the city is the reason for the spike in the number of cases.

“We’re waiting for a response from the department of health‚” she said. “The bodies of the families that called us may only be released in the next four to five days.”

There are approximately 3 million Muslims in South Africa‚ with the biggest population residing in Cape Town.



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