Dysfunctional mortuaries in the Aminuis area have put an emotional strain on residents of the constituency, who are forced to keep their departed loved ones at home until the police arrive to collect the dead bodies.
Residents say the mortuary has been unusable since 2020, and due to the scarcity of transport in general from Corridor 21 to Gobabis, which is about 300km away, they keep them under wet blankets to slow down decomposition.
By law, people are prohibited from moving a dead body after a sudden death until the police arrive.
The Inquest Act of 1993 stipulates that any person who has reason to believe that a person had died an unnatural death shall, as soon as possible, report it to a member of the police, unless such a person has reason to believe that a report in that regard has been or will be made by any other person.
The Act further states that a person, who without good cause fails to comply with the provisions of sub-section (I), shall be guilty of an offence, and liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding N$ l 000, or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding three months, or to both such fine and imprisonment.
“It is because of this Act that we are forced to live with our dead family members for days while the police secure transport to come to us,” said resident Aletta Dikokobele.
She said the police sometimes take up to two days to arrive due to a lack of transport.
Constituency councillor Peter Kazongominja said the situation of the broken mortuary was brought to the attention of the health ministry last year, which promised to repair all broken mortuaries in the area.
“The situation of mortuaries is serious, and those who can not afford to drive to Gobabis are in misery. There is no ambulance or police car. Those who want the police to attend to their matters urgently have to drive to go and get the police from the stations, and take them back with their private cars,” he observed.
The councillor said residents are also forced to chase criminals by using their private cars, with police officers on board.
“There is no contract between the police and residents that those police officers are insured in the event of an accident. The government will come after us if those police officers get injured. They must provide transport for the officers to execute their duties,” said another resident, Kenneth Nguvauva.