A number of bereaved families suffered more pain at the Tintswalo Hospital in Acornhoek when they had to wait for several hours before the hospital could release the bodies of their relatives yesterday.
One of the family members, Sophie Mokoena of Marite near Hazyview, told Sowetan that her family had waited at the hospital since in the morning before the body of her husband Charles Styles Smith, who died on Monday, could be released.
Mokoena said the family had come to collect her husband's body in order to prepare for the funeral.
"We arrived here as early as 10am and although the hospital mortuary staff released the body immediately, we could not leave," said the frustrated widow yesterday.
"This was because the officials at the hospital's outpatient department could not be found to sign forms to release the body," Mokoena said.
What worried her most was that the body was lying exposed to the sun because the undertaker's hearsewas parked in the open and that the heat could have an effect on the condition of the body.
The outpatient department staff arrived shortly after 2.30pm when they immediately signed the form for the body's release, following Sowetan's intervention.
Another family also complained about the same problem.
They had waited for nearly five hours before they could leave the hospital's premises with their baby.
Flora Manyike, of Ludlow village near the Manyeleti game reserve, said her daughter Angel Sibuyi had given birth to a baby boy on Wednesday night. But the baby died a while later.
"The body was taken to the hospital mortuary and we are here to collect it," Manyike said.
"The mortuary released the body in the morning but look at the time now, it is after 1pm and we are still waiting for someone to sign forms so we may leave.
"The body is even exposed to the sun for that matter," said Manyike.
Mpumalanga health department spokesperson Mpho Gabashane said the incident would be investigated.
"We shall look into the matter," said Gabashane.
"What we don't know is whether this happens on a daily basis or was a once-off incident," he said.