Prof Abdool Karim steps down: SA hails an 'exceptional civil servant'

26 March 2021 - 10:47 By cebelihle bhengu
Prof Salim Abdool Karim, co-chair of the ministerial advisory committee on Covid-19, has stepped down from his position to refocus on science and research. File Photo.
Prof Salim Abdool Karim, co-chair of the ministerial advisory committee on Covid-19, has stepped down from his position to refocus on science and research. File Photo.
Image: TREVOR SAMSON

South Africans have paid tribute to Prof Salim Abdool Karim, who has stepped down as the co-chair of the ministerial advisory committee (MAC) on Covid-19.

Abdool Karim  is one of the experts who investigated the first cases of Covid-19 when the pandemic hit SA last year.

As the head of the MAC, the epidemiologist and infectious diseases specialist helped South Africans navigate and understand the novel coronavirus.

Working alongside other experts, he also offered scientific advice to guide the government's response to Covid-19.

Abdool Karim handed in his resignation last month and publicly announced his decision on Thursday.

Many have described him as a “voice of reason” and his service as “exceptional”.

The professor said serving in the MAC has been a rewarding experience.

In a statement, he said he will refocus on science and HIV research.

“The MAC is well set to continue its good work and rise to the challenges of dealing with Covid-19. I have been thoroughly impressed with the skills, dedication and commitment of the MAC members and I leave knowing full well that advice on our Covid-19 response is in safe hands,” he said.

Health minister Zweli Mkhize commended Abdool Karim's handling of the pandemic and ability to explain complex issues.

“Throughout, he has remained focused, level-headed, calm and compassionate. Even under enormous pressure, Prof Abdool Karim always received everyone with his warm smile and reassuring presence,” he said on Thursday.

Here's how SA paid tribute:


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