President sends military to bolster Eastern Cape virus response

SANDF health practitioners in Port Elizabeth.
READY TO HELP SANDF health practitioners in Port Elizabeth.
Image: Michael Sheehan / AFP

Seventy-five South African National Defence Force (SANDF) military health services personnel have been deployed to hospitals across the Eastern Cape to help fight the spread of Covid-19, Premier Oscar Mbuyane announced on Tuesday. They include 20 medical specialists to support the health department.    

Mabuyane said President Cyril Ramaphosa had granted the province's leadership request to deploy the military “to reinforce our frontline forces”. 

The SANDF members will be deployed to the four hotspot areas of Nelson Mandela Metro, Buffalo City Metro, OR Tambo district and Chris Hani district

It is relentlessly taking the lives of parents, colleagues, friends, wives, husbands, children, relatives and elders of our community.
Premier Oscar Mbuyane

Mabuyane said they will be based at Dora Nginza, Livingstone, Frere, Nelson Mandela Academic and Frontier, Komani and Tower hospitals to respond to outbreaks and provide other specialised health care services.

“The death of our people is the most painful reality that we wished would never happen, but the virus is hitting us hard right now and it is hitting in our families, where it hurts the most.

“It is relentlessly taking the lives of parents, colleagues, friends, wives, husbands, children, relatives and elders of our community at a rate that requires adjustment of plans to stop the loss of lives ... we do not want the number of casualties to rise into thousands as we have seen in other parts of the world,” said Mabuyane.


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