South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa Tests Positive for Covid-19
South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa Tests Positive for Covid-19. Photo: Video screenshot from earlier today when the President was delivery a eulogy for FW de Klerk.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has tested positive for Covid-19 today (Sunday 12 December 2021), and is receiving treatment for mild symptoms of the viral infection.

According to the Presidency, the President started feeling unwell after leaving the State Memorial Service in honour of former Deputy President FW de Klerk in Cape Town earlier today… although he was seen coughing in footage from the memorial service, as he walked into the Groot Kerk church with FW de Klerk’s widow Elita de Klerk. (Ramaphosa was wearing his mask.)

President Ramaphosa Covid FW de Klerk memorial
President Ramaphosa coughing at the FW de Klerk memorial earlier today. He has since tested positive for Covid-19. Photo: Video screenshot

According to a statement: “The President is in good spirits but is being monitored by the South African Military Health Service of the South African National Defence Force.

“The President, who is fully vaccinated, is in self-isolation in Cape Town and has delegated all responsibilities to Deputy President David Mabuza for the next week.”


Today’s proceedings in Cape Town were undertaken in compliance with health regulations concerning hand hygiene, wearing face masks and social distancing (although the President did reassuringly put his arm around the back of FW de Klerk’s widow, Elita de Klerk, as they walked towards the church.)

President Ramaphosa Elita de Klerk Covid copy
Video screenshot of President Ramaphosa and Elita de Klerk before they walked into the church for FW de Klerk’s state memorial service.

President Ramaphosa says his own infection serves as a caution to all people in the country to be vaccinated and remain vigilant against exposure.

On his recent visit to four West African states, President Ramaphosa and the South African delegation were tested for COVID-19 in all countries.

The President and the delegation returned to South Africa from the Republic of Senegal on Wednesday, 8 December 2021, after obtaining negative test results. The President also tested negative on his return to Johannesburg on 8 December.

The Presidency reiterated that vaccination remains the best protection against severe illness and hospitalisation.

People who have had contact with the President today are advised to watch for symptoms or to have themselves tested.