R500-million hospital for Khayelitsha – and Mitchells Plain to get one too

R500-million hospital for Khayelitsha – and Mitchells Plain to get one too

4 December 2008

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KHAYELITSHA has moved a number of steps closer towards getting its own hospital.

“And, at a cost approximately R500-million, it will be a world-class facility,” Western Cape Premier Lynne Brown said today.

Addressing an audience of community leaders, BEE business people, builders, suppliers and unemployed persons at an information session in the giant township, Brown explained the Western Cape Government’s thinking behind the go-ahead for this enormous venture.

It has all to do with taking facilities to the people – and especially to the poor.

We reject the notion that residents of Khayelitsha, Mitchells Plain, Langa, Bonteheuwel and Gugulethu, to mention just a few townships, should travel many kilometres by train, bus and minibus taxi – at a cost they can ill afford – to supermarkets, shops and, especially, hospitals – to buy affordable goods or to receive even basic medical attention,” Brown said.

“This is simply not on.”

We have decided to bring shops, hospitals and other facilities to the people, rather than expecting them to continue spending so much money on travelling costs to get to these services.

Brown said she firmly believe that determination would always rewarded.

And she pointed out that the determination of the residents of Khayelitsha was about to be rewarded in spectacular fashion.

“In a few months time, it will be the turn of the people of Mitchells Plain,” Brown added. “We plan to build them a hospital of similar value.”

“We are in the process of finalizing a tender process for the Mitchells Plain venture,” she said.

Transport and Public Works MEC Kholeka Mqulwana, who was at the same meeting, announced that the Western Cape Government was confident that it would create thousands of jobs, empower BEE companies and offer numerous opportunities for women via the construction of the hospitals in Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain.

Mqulwana promised: “Government-driven projects in communities will have locals in the construction teams.

“It would be wrong and highly unethical if we had construction projects worth over a billion rand in our communities and not have residents in the area benefiting from them, either as builders or suppliers of materials.”

She said project managers had been instructed to meet equity targets.

“Government is determined to provide employment opportunities in Mitchells Plain and Khayelitsha,” she added.

Health MEC Marius Fransman said his Department was committed to providing an accessible, affordable, reliable and dignified health service to the 3.9 million people who were not covered by medical aid or hospital plans. The construction of the Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain hospitals was a step towards realizing that commitment, he said.

“The construction of the two hospitals would reduce the burden on already overloaded health facilities in Mitchells Plain and Khayelitsha,” Fransman said.

“Both areas have major health facilities, 24-hour trauma and emergency units, and are supported by a number of clinics. But despite this, hundreds of patients are forced to travel long distances to access health services,” he said.

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