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Cape Town mortuaries not coping with intake due to soaring murder rate

In the past week, the state mortuaries in Salt River and Tygerberg have admitted 170 bodies,

Cape Town’s soaring murder rate means its new mortuary will already be too small when it opens next year.

Professor Lorna Martin, head of the forensic pathology service in the Western Cape, said even though the R281m Observatory building is more than double the size of the existing Salt River mortuary, it will not cope.

“Even though this is new and we are moving in, it’s already not big enough,” Martin said during a media tour of the morgue. With the increase [of the amount of murders] that we’ve now had lately, I don’t think we will cope.”

Martin said the upsurge in murders meant there were also too few pathology staff.

“We are working very hard to ensure that we do have enough human resources to staff this. But there is risk because there are always budgetary constraints,” she said.

In the past week, the state mortuaries in Salt River and Tygerberg had admitted 170 bodies, said Martin.

Almost 1,300 murder victims arrived at the mortuaries between January and April, leading to warnings that Cape Town risks becoming the world’s most dangerous city.

More: The Sowetan

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