Doctors at the Diepkloof government mortuary in Soweto stopped work for two days this week in protest against the re-instatement of a doctor accused of stealing body parts.
Dr James Mwesigwa was suspended on November 2013 after he was accused of trying to take the brains and heart of a dead woman out of the mortuary in a bucket.
A criminal charge was laid with the police, but the case has yet to come to trial and the Gauteng Health Department’s disciplinary case against him has been hit by delays.
Mwesigwa pushed for a pre-disciplinary arbitration and was reinstated at the mortuary on Monday this week.
Doctors and other staff were appalled and stopped work, not releasing bodies to family members.
The impasse was resolved after the department transferred Mwesigwa to head office, and it appears that his disciplinary case will continue.
I am outraged that the department has taken so long with this sensitive case.
Dr Mwesigwa has received more than R1 million while being suspended on full pay for 16 months.
Desecrating the dead is a very serious matter, and Mwesigwa should not have been allowed to return to the mortuary unless he was found innocent.
This case must be speeded up and extra controls put in to prevent the stealing of body parts from state mortuaries.
Jack Bloom MPL
DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health
082 333 4222