AFRICAN MIRROR REPORTER
GWEDE Mantashe has become the first member of South African President Cyril Ramaphosa’s cabinet to test positive for COVID-19.
The South African presidency has announced that Mantashe, the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, as well as his wife, Nolwandle, tested positive for COVID-19.
“This was the minister’s third round of tests to be conducted since the outbreak of this virus. Minister Mantashe and Mrs Mantashe are currently in isolation and the minister will work from home,” the presidency said in a statement, adding that he has directed all members of his private office to get tested.
Three days ago, Mantashe delivered a special eulogy – on behalf of Ramaphosa – at the funeral of Queen Noloyiso Sandile in the Eastern Cape. Queen Sandile died of COVID-19.
Mantashe’s positive diagnosis follows that of Gauteng Premier David Makhura, who is working from isolation after testing positive to COVID-19.
Makhura is the third provincial premier to test positive. The others are North West Premier Job Mokgoro, who tested positive and checked himself into hospital and Alan Winde, Premier of the Western Cape, who is in self quarantine.
COVID-19 has also claimed the lives of senior politicians.
The first high profile COVID-19 casualty is Gordon Kegakilwe, the MEC for Cooperative Governance, Human Settlements and Sanitation. The second victim is Ricardo Mthembu, the spokesperson of the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal, who passed away in hospital after a battle with COVID-19.
The Democratic Alliance’s Mayor of Langeberg, in the Western Cape, Henry Jansen also died of COVID-19. He had been in hospital for a week.
“As we wish Minister and Mrs Mantashe a speedy recovery, we extend the same well wishes to the thousands of South Africans and their families who are also battling coronavirus.
To defeat this virus, we must all continue playing our part in observing the WHO protocols of washing hands regularly, wearing a mask and practising physical distancing,” the presidency said.