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Eastern Cape social development spokesperson dies suddenly from Covid-19

24 June 2020 - 09:29 By Asanda Nini
Eastern Cape social development department spokesperson Gcobani Maswana died suddenly after being admitted to a Port Elizabeth hospital.
Eastern Cape social development department spokesperson Gcobani Maswana died suddenly after being admitted to a Port Elizabeth hospital.
Image: DispatchLIVE

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

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, reports DispatchLIVE.

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."

He added that;“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”.

Another devastated close colleague, Nande Fayo, took to social media and posted: “Losing someone very close to you is among the most difficult trials to endure in life.”

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,” Buku said.