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Desperate families have secured court orders to force postmortems at Gauteng state mortuaries in order to get the bodies of loved ones released for burial‚ the Democratic Alliance said on Sunday.

It said this was as the strike by about 180 forensic assistants dragged on with no end in sight. DA Gauteng health spokesman Jack Bloom said that he knew of three court orders brought by Muslim families who were religiously required to bury the deceased within 24 hours of death.

“It is tragic that the court has to step in because of the pathetic mishandling of this strike by the Gauteng Health Department.

“Families were hopeful that the backlog of more than 200 bodies would be speedily cut when military health personnel were brought in to assist last week‚ but this turned out to be only 7 people‚” Bloem said.

He said pathologists had heroically worked without assistants over this long weekend‚ but new bodies were coming in all the time and they could not cope. As there was no fridge space‚ bodies were being piled on top of each other.

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