Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane has written to President Cyril Ramaphosa to request an official provincial funeral for Professor Lungile Pepeta, the Executive Dean of Health and Sciences at the Nelson Mandela University.

Professor Pepeta died of COVID-19 related illness at a Port Elizabeth hospital on Friday. He was a renowned paediatric cardiologist and Health Minister Doctor Zweli Mkhize had recently appointed him as the chairperson of the Medical Schemes.

He also formed part of the Eastern Cape’s panel of experts that advised Premier Oscar Mabuyane’s administration on how to tackle the coronavirus pandemic. He was 46.

Mabuyane has described Pepeta’s passing as a great loss to the medical fraternity.

“We are writing to the President, as you know it’s only him that can grant that honour. We believe that this man deserves such an honour – for the entire health sector he has outdone himself and done things beyond his age.”

Premier Oscar Mabuyane says Professor Pepeta’s death is a great loss:

Meanwhile, Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande says the death of Pepeta is a great loss to the higher education and health sectors.

Nzimande’s spokesperson Ishmael Mnisi says, “The Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Dr Blade Nzimande, sends his heartfelt condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Professor Lungile Pepeta- a seasoned doctor and academic at the Faculty of Health Sciences at Nelson Mandela University in Port Elizabeth. His death is a great loss to the Nelson Mandela University, the medical and health fraternity and South Africa in general.”