The National Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) has blamed the Gauteng Health Department for the rising backlog of autopsies at mortuaries in the province.
At least 200 families are currently waiting for the remains of their loved ones to be released after mortuary workers stopped conducting post-mortems.
Nehawu spokesperson Khaya Xaba says the workers have not embarked on strike action, instead they have ceased to perform duties that they are not paid of qualified for.
We are not on strike, we are not on a go-slow. Workers have stopped doing jobs, jobs that they were not supposed to do in the first place.— Khaya Xaba, Nehawu spokesperson
Xaba explains that workers have been forced to perform autopsies due to a shortage of qualified personnel in the department.
He says workers have asked the department for certified training and remuneration to perform extra tasks, but the department has refused to do so.
According to Xaba, the department should have put contingency measures in place after their negotiation talks fell through.
This situation should never have happened.. The blame should be put at the door of the department.— Khaya Xaba, Nehawu spokesperson
Meanwhile, Gauteng Health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa says the workers performed dissections and other tasks when they worked at Saps, before being transferred.
Ramokgopa says that military health personnel will be helping to resolve the matter in the next two days.
She maintains that while a course has been developed to train the workers, there has been no higher education institution that has offered to provide the training.
Ramokgopa concedes that communication was inadequate and says that the department hopes to speedily resolve the grievances with the employees.
Take a listen to both parties explain the saga: