Home South African Free State premier, health MEC test positive for Covid-19

Free State premier, health MEC test positive for Covid-19


Three high-ranking officials in the Free State government tested positive for the coronavirus this week.

Free state premier Sisi Ntombela sits before a media briefing.
Free state premier Sisi Ntombela. Picture Simphiwe Mbokazi/African News Agency/ANA

Durban – The Free State government has suffered a major blow after three high-ranking officials tested positive for the coronavirus this week.

Free State Premier Sisi Ntombela, health MEC Montseng Tsiu and director general of provincial government, Kopung Ralikontsane, all tested positive for Covid-19.

Ntombela’s Covid-19 test results came back positive on Tuesday, while Tsiu and Ralikontsane received their results over the weekend.

“Our ultimate challenge now, is that there are communities which are no longer adhering to regulations and observing the necessary protocols, which is putting the lives of citizens in danger.

“It is important to note that many people amongst us who have contracted the coronavirus do not have symptoms, yet could unsuspectingly infect others,” Ntombela said in a statement on Wednesday.

She said ensuring that a second wave of infections does not occur is a primary task.

The Free State premier will continue to carry out her work in isolation until she has made a full recovery, according to her office, and has also appointed the deputy director-general of policy, planning and governance, Thuso Ramaema, as acting director general from October 12 to 26.

Health MEC Tsiu, while in medical treatment, will be replaced by the MEC for cooperative governance and traditional affairs (Cogta) Thembeni Nxangisa, who will serve as acting health MEC.

The Free State provincial government has urged the public to remain vigilant as the virus “is far from over”.

The latest Covid-19 data available for the province shows that it currently has a total positive case count of 51,439 and a recovery rate of 70% (around 36,000).

The Free State has a total Covid-19 death toll of 1,237, with the highest fatality rate being reported in the Lejweleputswa District, just north of the province’s capital city of Bloemfontein.

Meanwhile, South Africa as a whole has 18 028 Covid-19 related deaths and 694 537 infections. The recovery rate stands at 90%.