A number of people have expressed their outrage during President Cyril Ramaphosa’s national address on Monday [February 1] when he failed to honour local healthcare workers or thank disaster relief group Gift of the Givers for all their hard work.
During his speech, Ramaphosa acknowledged contributions from MTN for their $25-million donation to procure 7-million vaccines for the country, as well as the Cuban medical brigade for assisting South Africa on the frontlines.
He also announced that South African Cabinet has approved a proposal to nominate the Cuban Medical Brigade for the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize.
“In Africa alone, the Brigade had treated more than 38,000 people by the end of November 2020. They are currently still active in many countries, including here in South Africa,” said Ramaphosa in his speech.
In response, The DA’s Siviwe Gwarube called the President’s address “a slight to the over a million South African healthcare workers who have battled valiantly against the Covid-19 pandemic under difficult circumstances.”
“This is truly bizarre at best and a great insult to South African healthcare workers at worst. No one will ever argue that we cannot express gratitude to international partners who have assisted the country in this journey, but that surely cannot be done by overlooking the monumental sacrifice done by our healthcare workers under impossible conditions,” he added.
Gwarube also announced the party plans to nominate South Africa’s healthcare workers for the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize since this year’s nominations have closed.
Speaking to the Cape Argus, Dr Imtiaz Sooliman said he received a shocking number of calls from from people who are upset the relief group did not receive recognition for all they have done to help South Africans throughout the pandemic.
“We appreciate and are grateful for the support but it is not about being thanked,” he told the news outlet. “I have been given three instructions and that is to provide support unconditionally, not expect a ‘thank you’ and not to get a kick up our backs. So far, we have not got a kick up our backs. This is worth more to us than anything. The love of the people is priceless.”
The Gift of the Givers Foundation is the largest disaster response non-governmental organisation of African origin on the African continent. They focus on disaster response, hunger alleviation, water provision, healthcare, education, and social upliftment.
Gift of The Givers continues to help those in need by donating food parcels, sanitary packs and meals, and recently opened upgraded accommodation for medical staff at the Bhisho Hospital in the Eastern Cape.
Picture: Twitter / The Presidency