Authorities have called for a full investigation into a trailer carrying 42 coffins and bodies that was stranded on the M1 highway in Johannesburg on Wednesday, The Times reported.
The trailer was reportedly carrying 26 stillborn babies in coffins and 16 adult bodies in body bags and pauper's coffins.
Johannesburg - Questions are being asked about why dozens of corpses found stranded on the M1 South highway were being transported in an open trailer. https://t.co/AV5xocswS8— Felicity (@Mothergoose1963) November 15, 2017
The man who was transporting the bodies, Aaron Mabuza, owner of Soweto Funerals, told The Times that he might have been wrong to use a trailer to transport the bodies. He said the took the bodies from Charlotte Maxeke Hospital and was on his way to bury them at the Olifantsfontein Cemetary.
The adult bodies were reportedly going to be given paupers' burials and had been at the hospital for at least six months. They were unclaimed or unidentified.
But authorities suspect there is more to the story, with allegations that Mabuza's paperwork was not in order.
Mayoral committee member Michael Sun's spokesperson, Lungela Longwe, said that the "documentation was not correct" to transport the bodies.
Sun has demanded a full investigation and there is a suspicion that "corruption may have been involved".
City of Johannesburg Press Statement by Cllr Michael Sun— Herman Mashaba (@HermanMashaba) November 15, 2017
MMC for Safety.
JMPD discover 42 bodies transported in open trailer on M1
We call upon the Provincial Department of Health and SAPS to conduct a full investigation into this matter. pic.twitter.com/s3a6SYhUWP
But Mabuza denied this, saying "I don't know what you are talking about. I have documents with me." Documents reportedly showed that an official from the hospital had signed off on the collection of the bodies.
Johannesburg Metro Police Department spokesperson Chief Superintendent Wayne Minnaar told News24 that the officers found that the trailer's wheels had dislodged on arrival.
"The driver did not have any documentation proving that they are a registered mortuary, or any hospital documentation to move the bodies. We will investigate the reason why the 42 coffins were being transported together," Minnaar said.