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


Regulations regarding the rendering of Forensic Pathology Service, 2007



(1) In these Regulations, any word or expression to which a meaning has been assigned in the Act, shall have the meaning so assigned and, unless the context otherwise indicates—


"authorised person"

means a medical practitioner registered as a forensic pathologist or forensic medical officer in terms of the Health Professions Act,1974 (Act No. 56 of 1974), to perform post mortem examinations or autopsies on a body and appointed in terms of regulation 16 of these regulations;



means the post mortem dissection of a body so as to determine the cause of death and the nature of injuries and disease processes which may be present;



means a dead human body or the remains thereof and "corpse" has a corresponding meaning;



means the relevant provincial Department of Health;


"designated facility"

means a medico-legal mortuary specially designed for purposes of storing bodies and where applicable, to perform post mortem examinations and autopsies;


"designated vehicle"

means a public mortuary vehicle, specially adapted in terms of applicable specifications to transport bodies;


"Head of Department"

means the person appointed as the head of the provincial department responsible for health in a particular province;


"Health Professions Act"

means the Health Professions Act, 1974 (Act No. 56 of 1974);


"Investigating Officer"

means a member of the South African Police Service appointed in terms of the South African Police Service Act, 1995 (Act No. 68 of 1995), and designated as an investigating officer to investigate the cause of death of a particular person and where possible, to ensure prosecution;


"medical practitioner"

means a person registered as a medical practitioner in terms of the Health Professions Act, 1974;


"medico-legal investigation of death"

means the investigation into the circumstances and possible cause of death which is or may have been due to unnatural causes, and includes but which are not limited to:

(a) the obtaining of relevant information at the scene of an accident where necessary;
(b) the performance of a post mortem examination, which may include an autopsy;
(c) the requesting and performance of special investigations; or
(d) the liaison with other relevant parties;

to facilitate the administration of justice;


"medico-legal mortuary"

means a laboratory or mortuary of the Forensic Pathology Service that is used for post mortem examination and medico-legal autopsies;


"post mortem examination"

means an examination of a body, with the purpose of establishing the cause of death and factors associated with the death, and in the context of these regulations, for medico-legal purposes;


"the Act"

means the National Health Act, 2003 (Act No. 61 of 2003);


"the Service"

means the Forensic Pathology Service in a province, providing medico-legal investigation of death due to natural or unnatural causes;


"the South African Police Service"

means the police service established in terms of the South African Police Service Act, 1995 (Act No. 68 of 1995); and


"unnatural death"

for the purposes of the medico-legal investigation of death, the following shall be deemed to be deaths due to unnatural causes—

(a) any death due to physical or chemical influence, direct or indirect, or related complications;
(b) any death, including those deaths which would normally be considered to be a death due to natural causes, which in the opinion of a medical practitioner, has been the result of an act of commission or omission which may be criminal in nature; or
(c) where the death is sudden and unexpected, or unexplained, or where the cause of death is not apparent.