Cape Town – NCOP chairperson Amos Masondo said on Thursday the one lesson to be learnt from the sacrifices made by healthcare workers during Covid-19 pandemic was that humans possessed amazing capacities to do good.
“The fight against the pandemic has shown through sacrifices of the health care workers that the frontline can be a place for expression of love. It can be a place where that comes more naturally from the human heart,” Masondo said.
He made the statement when the NCOP paid tributes to the health care workers on the frontline of the fight against Covid-19.
Masondo also said the pandemic has also exposed the fault lines of inequality in South Africa.
“It has demonstrated the need to act with great speed to protect the most vulnerable in our society. It has confirmed the correctness of our belief that we should place the resources of the country where they are needed most,” he said.
He said all should work together to achieve social cohesion and accelerate the project of nation-building in order to experience a just and inclusive society .
“We salute our health care workers who continue to be on the frontline of fighting the spread of Covid-19 pandemic. We salute them for providing the essential health service at their great risk to their own health and to their lives.”
Masondo also honoured those who succumbed in the course of the Covid-19 fight.
“In their memory we should commit that which is good whatever the odds. Our hearts are with all health care workers and their families ,”he said.
Health Deputy Minister Joe Phaahla said all health frontline workers should be protected so that the turn there was good protection for the public.
Phaahla said as at Wednesday there were 780 000 confirmed positive cases out of 4.5m tests that were conducted in the country .
The deaths were 18500 with case fatality 2.6% rate that was close to the US and Brazil.
More than 44000 health care workers have been infected by the middle of this month and that 380 succumbed to the virus.
Phaahla said the government had put up a package of care for the physical and psychological well being of healthcare workers.
“We are pleased with all interventions a lot of lives of health care workers have been saved.”
He, however, said in the case of a country experiencing resurgence of Covid-19 the population would be very much protected.
“I want to salute our frontline health care workers who continue to serve and provide safe health care to patients in prevention of Covid-19 and many diseases.”
Phaahla reminded South Africans the virus was not gone and urged them to observe the prevention protocols so that lives and livelihoods could be saved.
DA MP Mbulelo Bara said health care workers were heroes and heroines who lost their lives in line of duty while they provided support and comfort to those in hospitals.
“We must honour and uphold them for they have put their lives on the line for us to live. That is why it is important for them to get protective equipment to continue to do the good work they are doing,” Bara said.
EFF’s Mmabatho Mokause said health care workers were brave men and women who put their lives on the line for the whole nation by confronting the virus.
“We are humbled as the EFF despite a lot of uncertainty. You put your lives at risk to treat South Africans infected by Coronavirus while facing shortages of ventilators, life saving machines and PPEs,” Mokause said.
“We as South Africans did not not grasp the extent Covid-19 affected your families and your psychological well-being. Ours is to thank you and honour you and say rest assured you are on the right side of history. You shall never be forgotten,” she said.
IFP’s Simo Mfayela said despite facing mental stress and physical exhaustion and separation from their families, health care workers were committed to selflessly serve the country and its people.
“They lead by example and demonstrate what it means to selflessly serve our country and our people. Their efforts are not going unnoticed,” Mfayela said.
Freedom Front Plus’ Benjamin Cloete said the debate would do nothing if it was not done everyday.
“It is sad it took Covid-19 to make us really realise the importance of health care workers everyday. Thanks for being in the front line,” CLoete said.
ANC MP Maurencia Natalie Gillion said it was thanks to the selfless dedication of health care workers that 641 706 have recovered fully from the virus to date.
“Our health care workers risked their own lives and their families so that millions are saved,” she said.
Gillion called on all to observe health protocols amid the increase in the number of new infections.
“The only weapon we possess as a country is behaviour and constant adherence to health protocols. This entails continuous practice of physical distancing, wearing of masks when in public and washing of hands and or use of sanitisers on a regular basis,” Gillion said.