U.S. Department of Defense aircraft delivers critical supplies for the COVID-19 response in South Africa 

C-130 plane landing at OR Tambo International Airport (Photo Credit: Michael Combrink).

Press Release | August 15, 2020

The U.S. government has delivered approximately $340,000 (R5.9 million) worth of personal protective equipment to the South African National Department of Health (NDoH).  The equipment, delivered via C-130 military aircraft and consisting of masks, gloves, medical gowns, and sanitizing supplies, is bound for Gauteng, Western Cape, Eastern Cape, and KwaZulu Natal, where it will benefit front-line health workers.

AFRICOM also announced that is supporting the set-up of handwashing stations in Limpopo, Eastern Cape, and KwaZulu Natal, contributing $225,000 (R4 million) to this initiative.  This brings the total value of U.S. support toward South Africa’s COVID-19 response to over $46 million (R808 million).

Ambassador Lana Marks expressed her gratitude to Bongiwe Pityi-Vokwana, Airport General Manager, and to Kris Reddy, Assistant General Manager for Airport Operations also pictured
Ambassador Lana Marks expressed her gratitude to Bongiwe Pityi-Vokwana, Airport General Manager, and to Kris Reddy, Assistant General Manager for Airport Operations also pictured.

On the occasion of the C-130’s arrival at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, U.S. Ambassador to South Africa Lana Marks told assembled media, “We are so proud of our growing partnership with South Africa’s National Defense Forces and our cooperation to ensure peace in the region.  This delivery of lifesaving equipment, critically needed here in South Africa, shows how we can leverage the infrastructure of our strong defense cooperation to further bolster the U.S. support to South Africa’s ongoing COVID-19 response.”

Beyond today’s delivery, the U.S. has contributed to South Africa’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic through:

  • Over 12,000 FFP2 masks donated to the South African Military Health Service.
  • Over 250 infrared thermometers contributed to the South African NDoH.
  • 729,000 masks donated to NDoH.
  • Over 11,000 face shields manufactured locally by Ford Motor Company South Africa donated to the South African Military Health Service.

“U.S. Africa Command is focused on mission and the fight against COVID-19. We’ve been working in close coordination with the Department of State and United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to provide assistance where we can to the international COVID-19 response,” Lt. Gen. Kirk Smith, AFRICOM deputy commander said. “The contributions of critical personal protective equipment and supplies help South Africa and reflect our commitment to partnership in Africa.”

Separately, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief in Africa (PEPFAR) have worked side-by-side with the South African government throughout the COVID-19 response through the provision of ventilators, oxygen supply, and related training; lab support and preparedness; community health care worker support; and water and sanitation projects.

For previous press releases on the U.S. government’s COVID-19 support to South Africa, please visit here: https://za.usembassy.gov/category/press-releases/

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