Both Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy Gwede Mantashe and Minister of Employment and Labour Thulas Nxesi have disputed reports that they have been admitted in private hospitals for Covid-19 treatment, but insisted that they were currently in public facilities.
“I am in a public hospital and I am being taken care of very well here. I have never been to a private hospital, that must be clear,” Mantashe said in a telephone call to The Citizen on Wednesday.
The minister read several signs over the phone to prove that indeed he was in a public hospital that was operated by the Gauteng department of health in Pretoria.
“Unless this hospital has become a private hospital, but it has always been under the Gauteng government. I am here because this is the area where I work,” he added.
Nxesi’s office on Wednesday evening contacted The Citizen to say the minister was also in a public hospital in Pretoria where he was admitted after testing positive for Covid-19.
“Minister Nxesi would like to stress that he had always been attending a public hospital for all his medical needs,” a senior official in the department said.
No further details were given pertaining to Nxesi’s hospitalisation.
Mantashe said after he became sick with Covid-19 he was transported to the Pretoria-based hospital which he mentioned, but requested The Citizen not to name for security reasons.
Nxesi was also hospitalised after he was advised by his doctor to go to hospital. Both ministers are known to suffer from diabetes, which put them at high risk.
But Mantashe was adamant on Wednesday that he had never been admitted in a public facility. “To say I was in a private hospital and I am enjoying nice food is not a true reflection of what is happening, in fact it’s completely wrong.”
Several other ministers, deputy ministers and three premiers also tested positive to the virus but some had since recovered.
But it’s still feared that the many of the Cabinet Ministers are at high risk should they contract the disease as the majority of them were over 60 years of age, including President Cyril Ramaphosa.