Executive Dean of Nelson Mandela University’s Faculty of Health Science, Professor Lungile Pepeta, died on Friday from COVID-related complications, vice-chancellor Professor Sibongile Muthwa confirmed in a statement.
He was on a ventilator at the Life St George’s Hospital.
“As a renown 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,” said Muthwa.
“His passing is not only a great loss to the University, which is gearing up to launch its medical school, but to the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro, Eastern Cape and 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.”
Pepeta was a renowned paediatric cardiologist and, more recently, had helped spearhead the response to Covid-19.
He had been at the helm of the CMS since June 2020 following the death of former chairperson Dr Clarence Mini who also succumbed to the virus.
Pepeta had been a member of the council since November 2017.
He was raised, studied and spent the bulk of his career in the Eastern Cape.
Pepeta was also the former head of the paediatric department and paediatric cardiology at Port Elizabeth Hospital.
Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane said he was shocked by his death.
In a recent conversation between the two, Pepeta had indicated he was recovering well and looking forward to returning to his family and work to save lives.
He was part of a 15-member panel of experts advising the provincial government on Covid-19.
Mabuyane said it was because of people like Pepeta that they were able to transform the containment of the virus, which contributed to the 92% recovery rate and reduction of active cases in the province.
Nelson Mandela University’s vice-chancellor, Professor Sibongile Muthwa, said Pepeta had joined the institution on 1 January 2017.
This was at a time when the vision for establishing a medical school, which offered an alternative educational model towards meeting the country’s growing need for health professionals, was gaining momentum.
The university is now gearing up to launch its own medical school, the establishment of which was a personal goal of Pepeta’s.
The CMS said it was devastated.
“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,” it said in a statement.
It offered its condolences to his family, especially his wife, Dr Vuyo Pepeta.
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