‘A colleague and patriot’ – Eastern Cape dept spokesperson dies of Covid-19

Eastern Cape senior government spokesperson Gcobani Maswana, who has died from Covid-19. Picture: dispatchlive.co.za

Maswana, a seasoned communications practitioner, was the head of the communication division at the provincial social development department in Bhisho.

Well-known Eastern Cape senior government spokesperson Gcobani Maswana has died from Covid-19, his family confirmed on Tuesday.

He was 52.

Maswana, a seasoned communications practitioner, was the head of the communication division at the provincial social development department in Bhisho. He had been with the department for 15 years.

His principal, Social Development MEC Siphokazi Lusithi, said the province had lost an extraordinary servant of the people.

Maswana family spokesperson Bonisile Ndabambi said he died from Covid-19 on Tuesday at a Port Elizabeth hospital.

“He died in the early hours of this morning and we are planning to bury him on Saturday,” said Ndabambi.

Lusithi said she had learnt of Maswana’s death with great sadness and shock and described it as a tragic loss.

“Mr Maswana’s untimely passing is an immense blow to the department, the Eastern Cape provincial government, and the community of the Eastern Cape,” said Lusithi.

Lusithi said Maswana was a seasoned government communicator and one of the longest-serving government communicators in the province, who served the people of the Eastern Cape with great humility and diligence.

“In Mr Maswana, we have not just lost a colleague, but a patriot as he dedicated his life to serving the poor and the vulnerable,” said Lusithi.

She added: “We admire Gcobani’s sense of compassion, humility and dedication as he selflessly volunteered his services. We wish to take this time and pass our heartfelt condolences to his family, friends, and colleagues.”

“We hope his family will find comfort in knowing that the whole province dips its banner in mourning of this extraordinary servant of the people of the Eastern Cape. Liyinene elithi “isitya esihle asidleli,” said Lusithi.

The Eastern Cape has 303 Covid-19 deaths, 16,895 infections and 8,035 recoveries.

The MEC is investigating whether there is a need for Maswana’s staff to be tested for Covid-19 and be isolated, said social development’s media liaison officer Lufefe Mukutu.

He was not sure whether they had been in contact with Maswana.

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