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gautengThe Star reports that more than 750 employees of the forensic pathology services in Gauteng have been on an illegal strike since the beginning of the month, forcing the provincial Health Department to go the legal route to bring it to an end.

Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu said her department had applied for and was granted a court interdict to end the strike.  "Forensic officers are now back at work.  Post-mortems on all outstanding cases are being fast­ tracked accordingly.  We have been interacting with them to resolve their issues, but we don't condone the disruption of service delivery," said Mahlangu.

A forensic officer, who asked not to be named as he had taken part in the strike, said their gripe centred around the lack of danger pay and a dissection allowance.  "Doctors get an allowance for performing dissections.  We know they don't perform surgeries, because we're the ones performing it.  So why don't we receive that allowance as well?" he said.

He claimed that the department allocated a sum in the region of R28 000 for dissections.  "Doctors don't even touch a single tool during surgery, they just direct us," he claimed.

The employee said their gripe extended to the lack of danger allowance, despite it being afforded to employees in other departments.  "Our counterparts in the EMS division, for example, get danger allowances.  We work in dangerous environments, so we don't understand why we don't get that allowance too," he said.

The department's spokesperson, Steve Mabona, said forensic officers were not registered with statutory bodies and were not eligible to receive those allowances.  "Forensic officers are not health practitioners and, therefore, do not qualify for such allowances."

The original of this report by Tankiso Makhetha is on page 2 of The Star of 8 December 2016

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