Thursday, August 13, 2020

Last week, The Minister of Health, Hon Dr Zwelini Mkhize, learnt with shock and sadness of the passing of recently appointed Chairperson of the Council for Medical Schemes (CMS), Professor Lungile Pepeta. Prof Pepeta succumbed to COVID-19 after battling the illness for several weeks. His funeral was held on 12 August in Bizana, Eastern Cape.

He had replaced Dr Clarence Mini, who also passed away in May this year after contracting the virus. Prof Pepeta had been an ordinary member of the Council for Medical Schemes since his appointment by the Minister of Health in November 2017, when in June 2020 he ascended to the role of Chairperson.

Prof Pepeta was a seasoned health specialist and academic, and served as the Executive Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences at Nelson Mandela University in Port Elizabeth. A committed public servant, Prof Pepeta dedicated his life to healthcare in Eastern Cape working for various public hospitals in the field of Paediatric Cardiology. His main life purpose, in recent years, has been the establishment of the Medical Faculty at the Nelson Mandela University in the Eastern Cape. He worked tirelessly on this mammoth task and finally accomplished this feat recently.

Prof Pepeta held an MBChB from the University of Transkei (now Walter Sisulu University), a Master of Medicine in Paediatrics from the University of the Witwatersrand as well as a Fellowship of the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions (USA). Prof Pepeta was completing a PhD in Paediatrics from the University of Stellenbosch. His postgraduate qualifications  included a Diploma in Child Health, Fellowship of the College of Paediatricians, and a Certificate in Cardiology from the College of Paediatricians.

Says Minister Mkhize, “South Africa has lost one of her best sons- confident, knowledgeable, articulate and inspiring. One of the top thinkers, a brilliant mind, an outstanding academic and a pioneering researcher. He was a visionary who held high hopes for our country and an innovator who always harboured dreams of a better South Africa and spent time figuring strategies to to take this nation to the future of his ideals.

We convey our deepest condolences to his beloved family, his colleagues and his patients.

May the memories of his contribution to mankind console you as we adjust to life without him. May it comfort you to know that we share in your grief”