Personal statement by Carl Niehaus about his ongoing recovery from Covid-19 pneumonia
14 January 2021
The past two weeks I have been very ill with COVID-19. After I have tested positive for COVID-19, I developed full-blown COVID-19 pneumonia and had to be urgently hospitalized. I ended up in Milpark Hospital ICU, where I was fighting for my life. I am deeply grateful for the professionalism and commitment of the doctors and staff there, and the treatment that I have received. They have saved my life.
I was able to experience in person the hard work, at great personal risk and sacrifice, that health care workers make every day. They are the true heroes of this terrible pandemic.
I have taken a deliberate personal decision not to make it public at the time when I was very ill with COVID-19. I preferred to deal with my illness in private. I did so because I realized that there are those in our society who would in hatred have celebrated my illness, and even wanted me to die. At the time when I was gravely ill I did not want to deal with such viciousness. Now that I am on the road to recovery, I can end my silence.
It is sad that some in our society have become so hate-filled, and vicious, that one cannot even hope at a time of grave illness, for support and sympathy. During the time while I was fighting for my life I was deliberately targeted by a well-coordinated aggressive propaganda smear campaign against me in the Daily Maverick, Mail & Guardian, City Press, e-NCA and other WMC media. These attacks are still continuing unabated.
I am saddened that even the Deputy Secretary General of the ANC, comrade Jessie Duarte, saw it fit to attack me, and undermine my long history as a 42 year veteran of the ANC in good standing, as well as my elected position as an NEC member of MKMVA, and MKMVA National Spokesperson. This she did, knowing that when she was doing so, I was gravely ill. It was unnecessary and callous - I am deeply saddened by it.
I have none the less survived by the Grace of God. This challenging time is a watershed moment for me. Life is fragile and precious. Even more than before I will treasure and enjoy every moment, and live a life of commitment and dedication to my ideals, without any compromise. I will continue to speak my mind as a loyal member of the ANC, regardless of the personal pain, callousness, and terrible consequences, that even some comrades inflict on one.
I thank my two daughters, Helen and Khanya, my close family, my partner, and true comrades, for the love and support that they have given me - and continue to give me - during this most difficult time. I am also very grateful for the support, friendship and comradeship, that I have received from the Secretary General of the ANC, comrade Ace Magashule.
The severity of the COVID-19 pneumonia, that I am still recovering from, damaged my lung capacity, and I am still dependent on oxygen. I am faced with a prolonged period of convalescence, but I am hopeful that by the Grace of God, and with the support of true friends and comrades, I will prevail and eventually fully recover.
My prayers also go out to all who are still fighting for their lives, and I wish them every strength, and full and speedy recoveries.
I call on all my fellow South Africans to please protect yourselves, and to abide by all the measures that have been put in place to save lives.
My God protect us all. Nkosi sikelel’ iAfrika
Issued by Carl Niehaus in his personal capacity.