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Labour Dept affirms commitment to SA as staffers hit by COVID-19

Parliament heard on Tuesday how hundreds of Department of Employment and Labour staffers had been infected, including its political head Minister Thulas Nxesi.

FILE: Labour and Employment Minister Thulas Nxesi addresses a media briefing in Pretoria on level 3 lockdown regulations on 29 May 2020. Picture: @GCISMedia/Twitter

CAPE TOWN – COVID-19 is not only hitting frontline government workers like nurses and police officials hard.

The pandemic is also hitting government departments, infecting a number of officials, including ministers.

Parliament heard on Tuesday how hundreds of Department of Employment and Labour employees had been infected, including its political head Minister Thulas Nxesi.

Nxesi was scheduled to address his department’s budget vote on Tuesday morning. But he couldn’t after being admitted to hospital for COVID-19 on Monday.

Deputy Minister Boitumelo Moloi filled in for Nxesi and noted how the department had been badly affected by COVID-19.

“In our Department of Employment and Labour, we’ve got about 134 active COVID-19 cases, with 705 in self-quarantine. Tragically we had six officials who have passed on. Let me also take this opportunity to tell all South Africans that we are with you in solidarity.”

Nxesi is the second minister to be admitted to hospital.

His energy and mineral resources counterpart, Gwede Mantashe, has also been admitted to hospital after testing positive last week.

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