Condolences continue to pour in for beloved Dr Pepeta

Dr Lungile Pepeta
Dr Lungile Pepeta
Image: Mark West

Eastern Cape premier Oscar Mabuyane has joined scores of people in passing on messages of condolences following the untimely death of renowned paediatric cardiologist, Lungile Pepeta.

Dr Pepeta's death was announced to Dora Nginza hospital staff members on Friday evening by hospital chief operating officer Dr Jaline Kotze.

On Saturday, Mabuyane's spokesperson, Mvusiwekhaya Sicwetsha said the premier was shocked and pained by the passing of the Nelson Mandela University’s Dean of Health Sciences.

Sicwetsha said the premier wished the Pepeta family strength as they deal with the untimely death of their loved one.

"When premier Mabuyane spoke to him recently, professor Pepeta indicated that he was recovering well and he was looking forward to getting back to his family and to work with is colleagues to save lives.

"Although professor Pepeta was an old hand in the health services and systems, he still had many years ahead of him to use his unique skills, attributes and unparalleled work ethic to help improve the health profile of the people our province and country.

"His death comes at the time when he was part of the 15-member panel of experts advising the provincial government on Covid-19.

"The panel of experts came in at the time when the province was battling Covid-19 pandemic to help fight the virus," Sicwetsha said.

Pepeta served at the helm of Dora Nginza's paediatrics department for seven years before being appointed as the dean of Nelson Mandela University's medical school.

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.

Pepeta was the only paediatric cardiologist in the province’s state hospitals for a long time and trained several specialists during his tenure and introduced a non-invasive procedure to fix heart defects in children.

He left the hospital in 2016 to join NMU as dean of health sciences while continuing with private practice at Netcare Greenacres Hospital.

Health MEC Sindiswa Gomba said Pepeta left when great minds such as his were needed to fight the vicious and invisible enemy, Covid-19.

"The people of the Eastern Cape and South Africa will treasure his memory forever. We appreciate the role he played in his various roles in the medical fraternity.

"His passing will be felt for a very long time. On behalf of the department of health, we extend our deepest and heartfelt sympathies to Professor Pepeta's wife, Dr Vuyo and the entire Pepeta family.

"Professor Pepeta played his part and he did so with excellence. His contributions are immeasurable. We dip our banners in honour of this great son of the soil. Professor Pepeta represented the best that Mbizana and the Eastern Cape has to offer," Gomba said.

Pepeta was elected chairperson of the Council of Medical Schemes in June.

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