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Forensic Pathology Workers threaten to stop working

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They said no bodies will be collected by them and no one will be on standby to attend to the bodies after hours. They plan to start with this from Tuesday.

The Forensic Pathology Service threatened to stop working after 4pm following the failure by the Northern Cape MEC of Health Maruping Lekwene to accept their memorandum of grievances today. Picture: Boipelo Mere

STAFF at the Forensic Pathology Service in the Province threatened to stop work at 4pm every afternoon following the failure by the Northern Cape MEC of Health, Maruping Lekwene, to accept their memorandum of grievances on Monday.

They said no bodies will be collected by them and no one will be on standby to attend to the bodies after hours. They plan to start with this from Tuesday.

Staff marched to the MEC’s office for the second time this month in an effort to get Lekwene’s attention.

They threatened to hand over the keys of the facility to the MEC and stop working overtime and will also not be on standby until their demands around poor working conditions are met.

The Forensic Pathology Service threatened to stop working after 4pm following the failure by the Northern Cape MEC of Health Maruping Lekwene to accept their memorandum of grievances today. Picture: Boipelo Mere

They stated that they are sick and tired of the “arrogant response from the MEC’s office that he is too busy to meet with them”.

Pathologists said they are tired of “keeping their work vehicles together with wires or ropes in order to do their jobs”. They are also waiting for their allowances to be paid out.

Other issues highlighted in the memorandum include that they are understaffed; they do not get their allowances in time due to managerial positions remaining vacant for years; and do not have uniforms that are supposed to make them visible in the line of duty.

They further complained of faulty office equipment while mourners and the police have to spend money to make photocopies elsewhere. Apparently there is no standby phone, email or fax line.

They indicated that the grievances date back to 2012 but they have failed in all attempts to get the attention of the department.

The pathologists admitted that they did not give notice when they approached the MEC’s office during a first march on June 14 2021.

“That is why we were told to come today (Monday) to meet with the MEC in person.”

However, they refused to hand their memorandum to the Head of Ministry, Lerato Moleleki, who met with them on behalf of the MEC.

Spokesperson for the MEC, Lebogang Lekwene, promised that the concerns raised will be attended to.

“All concerns raised by the Forensic Pathology Service staff are viewed positively and will receive attention, which can lead to service improvement,” said Majaha.