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Covid-19 claims life of prominent South African cardiologist

Image: NMU

Eastern Cape’s Lungile Pepeta was health science dean at Nelson Mandela University

A prominent South African cardiologist specialising in congenital heart defects died from Covid-19 complications last week. 

Lungile Pepeta was serving as executive dean of health sciences at Nelson Mandela University. He died in a Port Elizabeth hospital on 7 August. He was in his 40s. 

“Professor Pepeta was extremely passionate and committed to South Africa’s health sector, particularly in the Eastern Cape, where he was raised, studied and spent the bulk of his illustrious career,” said NMU vice-chancellor Sibongile Muthwa in a statement.

Blade Nzimande, South Africa’s higher education and science minister, called Pepeta’s death “a great loss to NMU, the medical and health fraternity and South Africa in general”. 

Zweli Mkhize, the country’s health minister, said Pepeta had been “a top thinker, a brilliant mind, and an outstanding academic”. 

In recent years, Pepeta had focused on the establishment of a new medical faculty at NMU. 

Port Elizabeth is the economic hub of Eastern Cape province, where coronavirus cases and deaths have spiked in recent weeks, overwhelming some hospitals. Pepeta was serving on the province’s Covid-19 expert panel. 

He has been granted an official provincial funeral.