Mangosuthu Buthelezi (91) has tested positive for the Covid-19 coronavirus and is in self-isolation.
The Buthelezi’s family issued a statement on Saturday 8 August saying that the founder and president emeritus of the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) was in self-isolation for the mandatory period.
“Earlier this week, Buthelezi was informed that he came into contact with a positive case. He thus took the precautionary measure of being tested despite displaying no symptoms. At this point, we are pleased to say that he remains asymptomatic and is in good spirits. We have put in place a capable team to keep watch over the situation,” the statement read.
“Please rest assured that we will keep you informed of his progress and will advise when he is back in office. During this period of self-isolation, members of the media are kindly respected to respect our space.”
The Buthelezis said they were aware that many families had journeyed this road of infection and the overwhelming majority had emerged to full recovery.
“We, therefore, thank you for your prayers as we await a good outcome,” it added.
This week, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize warned that there was an increase in infections in Kwazulu-Natal. The province currently has 21 386 reported case.
He said the peak would lead to more infections. The government has been battling the disease for the last five months since the first case was reported in March.
Buthelezi joins a growing list of politicians who have tested positive including Minerals and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe, Trade and Industry Minister Ebrahim Patel, North West Premier Job Mokgoro, Western Cape Premier Alan Winde and Gauteng Premier David Makhura. The politicians have all since recovered.
Mkhize announced that more than 40 medical experts would be flown in from the World Health Organisation to help manage the pandemic.
The minister asked KwaZulu-Natal traditional leaders to encourage their communities to quickly approach healthcare centres for minor symptoms of flu as this might be related to the Covid-19 virus.