Media Statement

01 August 2020

Minister Pandor thanks the IAEA for the assistance provided to South Africa in the fight against COVID-19

The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Dr Naledi Pandor, has on behalf of the South African Government expressed appreciation to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), based in Vienna, Austria, for the assistance that the Agency is providing to South Africa in the form of test kit packages aimed at hastening the country’s detection and testing capabilities for COVID-19.

During late March 2020, the IAEA, through its Director General, Ambassador Rafael Grossi, contacted Permanent Representatives of Member States of the IAEA, offering the assistance of the Agency. South Africa accepted this offer of assistance, and the National Health Laboratory Services (NHLS) was designated as the nodal point.

The NHLS decided that the packages, comprising of real-time PCR equipment and utilising nuclear techniques, will be used to establish two regional laboratories that will feed into the NHLS, thus increasing the number of laboratories nationwide. This fits into the broader strategy of the national health system to expand the number of health laboratories in the country.

Minister Pandor said she was pleased that the package arrived in Johannesburg on 20 July 2020 and was collected by the NHLS on 22 July 2020. “I want to thank the IAEA for this very timely intervention. As President Ramaphosa has been saying, the fight against COVID-19 calls for a well-coordinated global response. The IAEA is playing its part in this regard”.

Enquiries: Mr Clayson Monyela, Spokesperson for DIRCO, 082 884 5974

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

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