The chairperson of the Council for Medical Schemes (CMS), professor Lungile Pepeta, has died of COVID-19.
In a statement on Saturday, the council said it was devastated and deeply saddened by Pepeta’s untimely departure.
“It is with sadness to inform you of the passing of the chairperson of Council for Medical Schemes, professor Lungile Pepeta. The CMS, medical schemes industry and the health sector has once again lost a leader to coronavirus.
“Prof Pepeta had been at the helm of the CMS since June 2020, after the passing of Dr Clarence Mini, who also succumbed to the virus. Prior to this, he had been an ordinary member of the Council since his appointment by the Minister of Health in November 2017,” the CMS statement read.
According to a Netwerk24 report, Pepeta was on a ventilator at the Life St George’s Hospital in Port Elizabeth and died on Friday.
“Ever smiling, Prof Pepeta was a passionate and committed patriot who poured his life to the service of others through his chosen profession. A health worker par excellence, Prof Pepeta specialised in paediatric cardiology, introducing a non-invasive surgery to correct heart defects in children,” the CMS said.
At the time of his passing, Pepeta was serving as Nelson Mandela University’s health sciences executive dean.
The CMS said Pepeta lived to see his greatest goal in recent years, which was the establishment of a medical school at the university.
In a statement on Friday, Nelson Mandela University vice-chancellor professor Sibongile Muthwa said Pepeta’s passing was a great loss for the institution, the Eastern Cape, and the country.
“Professor Pepeta joined the University on 1 January 2017 as the vision for establishing a medical school that offers an alternative educational model towards meeting the country’s growing need for health professionals was gaining momentum,” Muthwa said.
“As a renowned Paediatric Cardiologist, he had extensive experience in working with key stakeholders in the health and higher education sector, provincially, nationally, continentally, and beyond. More recently, he helped spearhead the University’s response to COVID-19 within the institution, in communities and society at large, working with healthcare professionals, and education, business, and political leadership.”
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