“His family thought he had died,” health spokesman Sizwe Kupelo told the Sapa news agency.
“The family called a private undertaker who took what they thought was a dead body to the morgue, but the man woke up inside the morgue on Sunday at 5pm and screamed, demanding to be taken out of the cold place.”
This caused two mortuary attendants on duty to flee the building in the small town of Libode in the rural Eastern Cape as they thought it was a ghost, the agency reported.
An ambulance was sent to fetch the man, who had “been exposed to extreme cold for nearly 24 hours”, Mr Kupelo said.
He said the public should not assume that a sick person had died and call the mortuary, the report said.
“Doctors, emergency workers and the police are the only people who have a right to examine the patients and determine if they are dead or not.”
Some of the family might have a bit of explaining to do to the poor chap left for dead and out in the cold.