Professor Lungile Pepeta to be accorded official provincial funeral after dying of Covid-19

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Professor Lungile Pepeta.
Professor Lungile Pepeta.
Roslyn Baatjies
  • Distinguished academic Professor Lungile Pepeta has been accorded an official provincial funeral by President Cyril Ramaphosa.
  • He will be buried on Wednesday in Mbizana in the Eastern Cape.
  • Pepeta who died from Covid-19 on Friday, was part of a 15-member panel advising the provincial government on Covid-19.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has accorded acclaimed paediatric cardiologist Professor Lungile Pepeta a special category two provincial funeral.

Pepeta will be laid to rest in Mbizana in the Eastern Cape on Wednesday.

The announcement was made by Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane in Bhisho on Tuesday.

Delivering his weekly address on the province's Covid-19 response at the Bhisho massacre memorial site, Mabuyane said: "We roped in Professor Pepeta to serve in our panel of experts on Covid-19 and this is where he was consistently providing valuable inputs passionately every week, so that we can make informed decisions.

READ | Frontline health workers' 'lives in danger because of poor quality PPE'

"We were still in the infancy stage of working together with him and other health experts to address healthcare provision challenges to ensure that post Covid-19, we have an improved healthcare system throughout our province."

Mabuyane described Pepeta as an extraordinary human being who did extraordinary work in his life.

Extraordinary

"That is why we applied to President Cyril Ramaphosa for him to accord Professor Pepeta a send-off befitting of his extraordinary deeds. The president has approved our request and Professor Pepeta will be buried under the ambit of a Special Provincial Official Funeral Category 2 in Mbizana on Wednesday. Government is working closely with the family on logistics. May his servant soul rest in peace."

Pepeta, a Nelson Mandela University health sciences executive dean and chairperson of the Council for Medical Schemes (CMS), died of Covid-19 on Friday.

READ | Municipalities losing billions of rands during Covid-19 pandemic

News24 reported that Pepeta was a renowned paediatric cardiologist and, more recently, had helped spearhead the response to Covid-19.

Pepeta had been a member of the council since November 2017.

He was raised, studied and spent the bulk of his career in the Eastern Cape.

He was also the former head of the paediatric department and paediatric cardiology at Port Elizabeth Hospital.

He was also part of a 15-member panel of experts advising the provincial government on Covid-19.

Mabuyane lauded Pepeta saying through his work, they were able to transform the containment of the virus, which contributed to the 92% recovery rate and reduction of active cases in the province.

Nelson Mandela University's Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sibongile Muthwa, said Pepeta had joined the institution on 1 January 2017.

This was at a time when the vision for establishing a medical school, which offered an alternative educational model towards meeting the country's growing need for health professionals, was gaining momentum.

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