It has been revealed that the bodies, suspected to be Zimbabweans were finally given a mass burial after lying at Elim Hospital mortuary in Louis Trichardt in Limpopo Province for a long time.
The spokesperson for Elim Hospital, Mr Avhatakali Marole, said the hospital’s forensic pathology department buried 17 unknown people believed to be Zimbabweans as paupers on Tuesday last week at Tshikota Cemetery.
This was after hospital authorities had failed to locate the relatives of the deceased persons.
Mr Marole said most of the unclaimed bodies had been stuck at the hospital mortuary for more than a year.
“We buried 17 unclaimed bodies of unknown persons from Zimbabwe after we had failed to locate their relatives.
“In fact, we realised that it was impossible for us to continue keeping the bodies at our mortuary, which has a capacity of carrying about 58 people at a given time, hence making it difficult for us in terms of the availability of space,” he said.
Mr Marole said of late there has been an increase in the number of unclaimed bodies lying at the mortuary, adding that most of them were illegal immigrants from Zimbabwe and Mozambique.
“We get more than 100 unknown people who are buried in the Vhembe District every year with statistics indicating that most of them would be illegal immigrants from neighbouring Zimbabwe and Mozambique,” he said.
Some of the people who were buried were picked along the N1 Road between Musina and Louis Trichardt and in bushy areas in surrounding local farms.
Maeteko Funeral Undertakers, a local funeral company, donated the 17 coffins that were used to bury the Zimbabweans.
Last year the hospital buried the remains of 32 unidentified people, mostly Zimbabweans who were lying at the hospital’s forensic pathology unit for almost a year. ZimDiaspora