Amathole District Municipality (ADM) mayor and ANC regional chairperson Khanyile “KC” Maneli’s wife, Matilda Maneli, has died on Sunday morning due to COVID-19 complications.
ANC regional secretary Thembalethu Ntutu told DispatchLIVE that the 58-year-old Matilda, who was an employee in the district’s health department, passed away at 08:30 in the Stutterheim Hospital where she was hospitalised since Wednesday 20 May.
“Mrs Maneli was among the frontline troops in the war against the invisible enemy, COVID-19, as one of the health workers confronting the deadly enemy head on, stationed at Victoria Hospital in Alice. She received the results that she had contracted the virus on Monday 18 May and was hospitalised on Wednesday in Stutterheim Hospital where she passed on in the early hours of today,” said Ntutu.
“We wish to convey our deepest and heartfelt condolences to the family of comrade Maneli and colleagues at Victoria Hospital, who are certainly left with anxiety and fear, we wish them strength and comfort during this period of bereavement and beyond,” the regional secretary added.
The Amathole mayor has been re-tested for the virus on Monday, but results came back negative on Saturday. Maneli had been self-isolating pending the results.
Family spokesperson Sithembele Zuka said the mayor is “deeply shocked” by the death of his wife.
The Eastern Cape has been hard-hit by the rapid spread of COVID-19 in the province. As of Saturday 23 May, 2 569 COVID-19 cases have been recorded in the Eastern Cape.
The spiking number of cases in the province has triggered concern from Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane and prompted a visit by President Cyril Ramaphosa earlier in the month.
Mabuyane has contributed the rise in infections partly to large-scale travelling from the Western Cape — which is the country’s epicentre — for burials in the province.
“The relationship that we have with the Western Cape, is that when people die in that province, they are buried here in the Eastern Cape. So we are picking up those issues. Every funeral is becoming a hotspot as I’m talking to you. Those cases from the Western Cape are COVID-19 positive cases getting buried here,” the premier argued.
On Saturday evening, Mabuyane met with Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi in an attempt to reverse the decision to close the Frere Hospital for failing to comply with COVID-19 health and safety requirements and a court may need to decide this coming week whether the East London hospital is to be shut down in the midst of a global pandemic .
The hospital was on Tuesday served with a shutdown order by East London-based labour inspector Apiwe Maxontana.