The funeral of beloved local nurse Petronella “Aunty Nellie” Benjamin. Picture: Henk Kruger / African News Agency (ANA)
The funeral of beloved local nurse Petronella “Aunty Nellie” Benjamin. Picture: Henk Kruger / African News Agency (ANA)

Western Cape MEC honours nurse who died from Covid-19 a day before she was to retire

By Lisa Isaacs Time of article published May 6, 2020

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Cape Town – Beloved local nurse Petronella “Aunty Nellie” Benjamin, who died as a result of Covid-19-related complications, was buried yesterday.

Condolences poured in for the 62-year-old following her death last Wednesday.

The Eerste River nurse died a day before she was due to retire after decades of service as a health-care worker.

Benjamin is the first health professional in the province to die as a result of Covid-19.

Health MEC Nomafrench Mbombo last week honoured Benjamin with a special tribute on Workers’ Day.

“This day we honour your sacrifice To the late professional nurse Petronella Benjamin, who passed on from Covid-19.

“Yesterday was supposed to be her last day at work. She was about to retire after more than 25 years of service,” Mbombo said.

“Those working in town, specifically staff from Parliament and government who used to be her clients at Long street and Golden Acre station clinics, would remember her passionate caring attitude.

“A spiritual person, a women’s health and reproductive rights patron, who started her nursing career in then Woodstock Hospital,” Mbombo added.

Beloved Cape Town nurse Petronella “Aunty Nellie” Benjamin, who died as a result of Covid-19-related complications, was buried yesterday. Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)

Benjamin passed on her passion for nursing to her daughter, also a nurse with the department, Mbombo said.

“A hero has fallen, our first health worker casualty from the virus, we salute you. On May 12, International Nurses Day, the province planned to celebrate the Year of the Nurse, with events that would include all our retired nurses.

“Condolences to family, her colleagues and community she served.”

Beloved local nurse Petronella “Aunty Nellie” Benjamin, who died as a result of Covid-19-related complications, was buried yesterday. Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)

On social media, Benjamin was remembered for her loving nature.

“Rest in Peace Sister Petronella Benjamin. You were the only nurse I’ve come to know with the most amazing bedside manner. On my last visit, you told me you were about to retire. 

"I remember wishing you the best of luck for your future endeavours and to learn about your death is just heartbreaking. The department of health certainly lost a hero,” a former patient posted.

Provincial health department spokesperson Mark van der Heever said the department did not provide information on individual cases and respected the family’s privacy.

Cape Times

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