Government Departments: Need I Say More!

I don’t really like to discuss politics or the government on my blog; mostly because I believe that each person is entitled to their own views on the government and are entitled to have such views respected. Also I may possibly be working for one of the largest (probably most well-run) government departments soon.

Today however I need to vent because at some stage (read all the time) a person just gets absolutely tired of always dealing with incompetence.

When my neighbour’s body was removed by the government mortuary officials (I have no idea what they are called), I was told all I needed to identify the body would be my Identity book and his. When I told them I could not find his Identity book and asked if I could use the copy that I found, they told me this would be fine.

I have only located my neighbour’s sister last week Thursday and have been told that I need to make the funeral arrangements. She won’t be coming to the funeral but is at least paying for it.

I could thus only go and identify his body this morning. I could not go sooner as I had no idea what to tell them to do with the body.

I phoned the government morgue this morning just to enquire that I am bringing along the correct documents. I had found the passport and the funeral home had said that I could use that. Needless to say, government phones are never answered and when they are, the officials have absolutely no phone etiquette.

The official confirms that I can use the passport.

I arrive at the government mortuary and when I am assisted, the official asks me whether I have the documentation. I tell him that I have the passport of the deceased and my identity book.

His response: “Do I want to be arrested?”

“On what basis would I be arrested?” I enquire.

“For bringing the wrong documentation,” he says, quite literally with a smirk. Quite frankly, I do not know on what basis he thinks he has the authority to arrest anyone.

“No, I have brought the correct documentation. In fact, I called earlier to enquire about the documentation.”

And then he proceeds to ask me the details and he starts filling out the form.

He then asks a thousand questions, which I agree are legitimate: Where is his family? Why are they not identifying the body? Why did I take so long to identify the body? All of which I answer.

He asks personal questions about the neighbour which I answer (to the questions I know the answer to). He then asks me where my neighbour was born. I respond that I do not know and after a few second of looking at the paper he says “Well, I cannot lie,” leaving the place of birth blank.

“Yes, I say, you cannot lie and I cannot give answers to questions I do not know. I also cannot lie.” At this stage, I am quite irritated and am biting my tongue so as not to give a sarcastic reply.

I sign the forms and he disappears to make copies of the Identity book and passport. He comes back and again asks for the hundredth time whether my neighbour’s family will not be identifying the body. I again tell him they will not. He says wait, he will just pull up a picture of the deceased and he disappears again for a few minutes.

He then tells me to follow him and what is on the screen is actually quite gruesome. Although I had seen my neighbour’s dead body whilst waiting for the police to remove him, I had not seen his face before because of the position that he had been lying. I am not sure how many pictures of him the pathologist had taken but I am pretty sure this official chose the most hideous picture to identify my neighbour just to see if he could scare or shock this young, “white” girl who has to go identify a body in Hilbrow.

I don’t have a weak stomach so he did not get the reaction he wanted and I left with him again asking about the family identifying the body.


4 thoughts on “Government Departments: Need I Say More!

  1. Oh my word! I don’t think I could ever go and identify a body – I’m so sorry that you had to go through all of this! It’s a pity that his family wouldn’t assist you with any of it…

    I must admit that I’ve had my fair share of incompetence, as well as awesome service from government departments. A little bit of the good, with a whole lotta bad I suppose *shrugs*


  2. The level of douche-baggery in this country will never cease to amaze me. Sorry that you had to deal with all of this, but respect to you for doing it. Most people would have walked away… Utmost respect.


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