Pretoria - Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi has expressed sadness at the death of one-month-old baby Ashleigh Louw on Friday.
"Our prayers are with them during these difficult times. The loss of such a young life is painful to all of us", said Motsoaledi.
Baby Ashleigh was born on 9 January with a very rare condition - her heart protruding out of her chest. Her heart was only covered with a thin layer of skin.
Doctors at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Johannesburg conducted a marathon operation to have her heart put back at its rightful position inside the chest cavity.
Motsoaledi, who is on a state visit to the United Kingdom alongside President Jacob Zuma, also paid tribute to healthcare workers at the hospital for their efforts.
"On behalf of the Department of Health I wish to pay tribute to the team that worked hard in trying to save the little life that we have just lost. I am aware that they were dealing with a very complicated and rare condition and there is no doubt that they have made medical history in our country.
We are always encouraged by the dedication of our healthcare workers to do their utmost (best) even under the trying circumstances such as those faced by our hospitals. We are very proud of them," he said.