whose blood is it?

Zinhle Mapumulo

Zinhle Mapumulo

Exactly who is responsible for washing away the blood following road accidents depends on who, between the Johannesburg Emergency Services (JMS) and SAPS leaves last, Sowetan has learnt.

The JMS says though it is not its duty to clean up blood after accidents, many of which end in fatalities, its personnel does the job anyway.

JMS spokesman Malcolm Midgley says: "Neither the police nor emergency services is tasked with it. Whoever leaves the scene last should make sure that the blood has been washed and broken glass removed. If there is no water they can just cover it with soil instead of leaving it to dry."

Midgley's response comes after a man was killed in an accident on the N1 South on New Year's Eve and his blood left uncleaned until it dried up.

In African culture a person is not allowed to walk over the blood of a dead person. The place has to be cleaned up and in most cases a ritual performed. But on the roads the situation is different.

Mathole Motshekga, of Kara Heritage Institute, says it does not matter who cleans up the blood or when but it has to be done.

"A person cannot walk over a dead person's blood. Though the body and spirit separate when a person dies, it still shows disrespect to walk or drive over their blood. Cleaning up the blood does not interfere with African rituals where the spirit is collected from the accident scene," he said.

"The family goes to the scene, speaks to the spirit, telling it to come with them where the deceased lived."