Minister of Health Dr Zweli Mkhize on Saturday received the handover of 20 ventilators to the Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital in Johannesburg.

The ventilators, used in South Africa’s fight against the COVID-19 Coronavirus, form part of the first batch of 50 that have landed on our shores donated by the United States of America through USAID.

The US has pledged 1000 ventilators in total, valued at about R500,000 each.

“We have come to receive this great gesture of friendship, support and solidarity…This is a response to a conversation between President Donald Trump and President Cyril Ramaphosa where President Ramaphosa raised the issue to President Trump that there are very important necessities we need to deal with COVID-19 that have gone into short supply globally,” Mkhize said.

“I was quite pleased to report back to President Ramaphosa that their conversation where this undertaking was made has borne fruit.”

Mkhize was joined at the hospital by US Ambassador Lana Marks, Gauteng Premier David Makhura and Gauteng Health MEC Bandile Masuku.

“We are here to express our gratitude to the government of the United States of America for the contribution. We are also here to acknowledge the partnership we have always had in various areas,” Mkhize said.

“We have already decided to take a portion of this first batch and serve it to the Western Cape.”

Mkhize said Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital is a historic monument and a key in South Africa’s fight against the pandemic.

“Indeed, this hospital is a historic monument. It is one of the epicentres of clinical excellence in the country. We have got full confidence in what this hospital does and what it can do,” he said.

“I want to pay tribute to the health workers in our country. They have done exceptional work. When we are coming today to make this contribution, we are saying we will do more to make it easier for them to execute their responsibility of saving lives…Thank you for this contribution of arming our forces as they go to battle.”

MEC Bandile Masuku and Premier David Makhura also thanked USAID for their contribution.

“This is one our tests as the world to make sure we are prepared and ready for future pandemics. When we started our fight, we made sure that we are almost ready…This donation is very handy to us. We have good clinicians here (at Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital),” Masuku said.

“The role of politicians is just to create a platform for our clinicians to save lives. We are all about partnerships, solidarity and alliances.”

“The ventilators came at the right time. Our province is indeed entering a new phase. We are beginning to see an increase in the number of positive cases and an increase in the number of hospital admissions,” Makhura said