Minister Mbombo pleased with Observatory Forensic Pathology Institute progress | Western Cape Government



Minister Mbombo pleased with Observatory Forensic Pathology Institute progress

5 September 2022

On 2 September 2022, Minister Mbombo conducted an oversight visit to Observatory Forensic Pathology Institute (OFPI).

This new Institute will replace the Salt River mortuary, which was built during 1954. The R280 million, OFPI is a three-story building, larger, modern and will have better integration of work of Provincial Forensic Pathology Services (FPS) and that of National Laboratory Services, together with facilities to support the University of Cape Town’s academic training field.

Minister Mbombo welcomed the progress made at the site: “This investment will ensure we are able to expand our service offering to include a wider range of high end services such as toxicology-, molecular-, and dental laboratories services, to identify cause of death”.

Minister Mbombo stated further: “We are adamant to deliver quality services because we know that they will also help solve crimes, an issue that we as a provincial government are tackling head on. With this top end service, we can drive the connection between criminals and crime, resulting in more convictions and a strong message to criminals that in our province, crime has consequences”

This joint venture between the Western Cape Department of Health and the Department of Public Works, will provide Level 4 forensic services aimed at not only “storing” remains but extracting, analyzing, and preserving the integrity of evidence, in support of the medico-legal investigation of death in support of the criminal justice system. Though much progress has been made, the three-storey building is currently undergoing the final stages of practical completion, with all works, including snags, due to be finalized in February 2023.

It is important to note that FPS play a crucial role in the delivery of essential services to people of the Western Cape in providing closure to many in determining cause of death in unnatural deaths. Minister Mbombo calls on the contractors to have the snags fixed with a level of urgency.

Minister Mbombo stated that in developing this facility, considerations were given to the 2030 vision, focused to give access to person-centered and quality care. With an estimated amount of 4 000 admissions per year being received, FPS officials conduct 20 autopsies per day. With the constant case increase in the Western Cape, the new facility comes with additional dissection areas and has viewing rooms that are on an international standard. The objective is to make the identification process for families as gentle as possible. A garden space and reflection space will be available to family members who identify the bodies of the deceased.