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National Health Act, 2003 (Act No. 61 of 2003)


Regulations Regarding the Rendering of Forensic Pathology Service, 2018

15. Identification of body


(1) A body must, where visual identification is possible, only be identified by a spouse, partner, major child, parent, guardian, major brother, major sister, care-giver or any person with personal knowledge of the deceased and is in possession of his or her own authentic identification document and that of the deceased, validated by the Department of Home Affairs or the deceased person's consulate or embassy or country of origin.


(2) Where visual identification is not possible, scientific means of identification must be instituted by the authorised medical practitioner, supported by the South African Police Service.


(3) If the person identifying the body is not a relative as listed per sub-regulation (1), the appointed person must either have a letter from such a relative authorising them to proceed with the identification or must be accompanied by the family member(s). The correct contact details and address of that family member must be contained in the authorisation letter.


(4) Persons may not identify a deceased if:—
(a) The informant appears to be under the influence of alcohol or an intoxicating substance;
(b) The informant is a minor; or
(c) A dispute arises between parties with regard to the custody of the body.


(5) The personal effects of the deceased may be handed to the person contemplated in sub-regulation (1), if the authorised person who conducted the post mortem examination is satisfied that such personal effects are not required as evidence or pose a health risk.