Eastern Cape social development spokesperson dies suddenly from Covid-19

Gcobani Maswana Image: file
Less than 12 hours after Gcobani Maswana was admitted in a Port Elizabeth hospital after complaining of having difficulty with breathing, he died from Covid-19 complications on Tuesday morning.

The seasoned government spokesperson was the Eastern Cape department of social development communications, media liaison and customer care director.

His death was confirmed by an emotional social development MEC Siphokazi Mani-Lusithi, who could not hold back her tears.

Maswana’s wife, Thandi, could not be reached for comment.

Mani-Lusithi described Maswana as dedicated to his work.

The MEC said she last communicated with the “jovial” Maswana on Monday via text messages after he had been admitted to hospital.

“He informed me recently when he was diagnosed as Covid-19 positive, but he was very optimistic that he was going to defeat the virus.

“Again when he was admitted in hospital on Monday, he texted me and told me about it. He was in good spirits and I did not expect this,” said the MEC.

A sobbing Mani-Lusithi said the Covid-19 pandemic had hit close to home.

“This is very painful for all of us at the department. We are in deep shock and this is very difficult to accept.

“We always knew that the coronavirus would be bad, but we never expected it to hit so close to home. It’s just too painful,” said Mani-Lusithi.

Premier Oscar Mabuyane’s spokesperson, Mvusiwekhaya Sicwetsha, said the premier was shocked by Maswana’s death.

“Premier Mabuyane sends his heartfelt condolences to Mr Maswana’s family, friends and colleagues,” said Sicwetsha.

Provincial Cogta spokesperson Mamnkeli Ngam,  a close friend of Maswana, said the province had lost one of its most gifted communicators.

“He used to make all those around him laugh. He was very friendly, liked to joke and would never hurt even a fly.

“This is a great loss for the provincial communication fraternity.

“There was never a dull moment in his midst. He was a man of all seasons. He was an asset for our provincial communication,” Ngam said.

He said Maswana’s death was “a call to all of us to jack ourselves up and take good care of our lives because this pandemic is here and we need to realise this before it is too late”.

Buffalo City Metro mayor Xola Pakati went into self-isolation on Tuesday after coming into contact with a councillor who has tested positive for Covid-19.

His spokesperson, Luzuko Buku, said Pakati would be tested on Tuesday and the public would be made aware of his results as soon as they were available.

“His self-isolation is a precautionary measure in line with the public health protocols governing the containment of the virus.The protocol on contact tracing will be undertaken on all the people the councillor had come into contact with to ensure that they, too, go into self-isolation and undergo screening and testing,” Buku said.

By Asanda Nini – DispatchLIVE

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