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City hospital renamed

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The renaming coincided with the 40th anniversary of the death of the Pan-Africanist leader

Pictures: Danie van der Lith

THE RENAMING of the Kimberley Hospital Complex to Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe Hospital as well as the handing over of Kimberley’s new mental health hospital in June, were some of the announcements made by Premier Sylvia Lucas during her State of the Province address (Sopa) yesterday.

Lucas stated that the renaming coincided with the 40th anniversary of the death of the Pan-Africanist leader.

“The honour of renaming Kimberley Hospital Complex is to retain the revolutionary connection that Kimberley as a city has with Sobukwe. There is a renewed commitment to address the human consequences of the legacy of apartheid,” said Lucas

She added that Sobukwe’s former law offices in the Mayibuye Precinct would be repaired and she warned the public against vandalising the memorial that was erected in his honour.

Lucas said that the Kimberley’s new mental health hospital, which has entered its 12th year of construction, was now 98 percent complete.

“We hope that this is the last year that we will be announcing the handover date.”

She indicated that the hospital would be handed over in June this year. This is an contrary to the handover date of March that was provided by the Department of Health to the portfolio committee on health in Parliament in January.

Lucas said that the department had appointed the provincial mental health board and was in the process of appointing mental health review boards in all five districts of the Province.

“These district mental health board members are volunteers. The mental health hospital will be operationalised in a phased-in approach as soon as the facility is handed over to the department.”

She added that the in-patient substance abuse rehabilitation centre had been completed and would be handed over to the Department of Social Development during the coming financial year.

“The recruitment process for the staff of the treatment centres will be unfolding during the coming financial year and and it is envisaged that the centre will be fully operational from July this year.

“The timely completion of this treatment centre, within the agreed upon budget, demonstrates our commitment to ensuring efficiencies in terms of the utilisation of public resources.”

Lucas stated that 21 students, who studied medicine in Cuba, will be finalising their medical training and would be integrated into the Kimberley Hospital, along with 43 nursing bursary graduates who will be permanently employed.

She said that all provincial departments would have to implement anti-corruption policies, while cost-containment measures would be instituted across all departments to ensure the optimal use of limited resources.

“The fight against corruption remains on the agenda. Provincial Treasury will intensify interventions at the departments of Health and Education. More hands-on support will be provided for municipalities, including political involvement by MECs and other elected public officials. Operation Clean Audit will be revived in both the provincial and local spheres of government.”

Lucas added that the provincial and national Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs would continue to assist and support dysfunctional municipalities and ensure that they enhanced their revenue generation.

“The status of the municipal valuation rolls of all municipalities have been assessed.”

She stated that 600 students registered at Sol Plaatje University would benefit from the new free higher education programme this year.

“We are currently finalising a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Sol Plaatje University. This MOU will assist in compiling a comprehensive provincial skills audit … that will assist in the finalisation of the Provincial human resource development strategy that will not only speak to the public sector but to the cross-sectoral skills challenges.”

Lucas said that the Loeriesfontein bulk water supply project, which is being constructed at a cost of R128 million, to alleviate the severe drought in the Hantam district, would be completed by June this year.

“The Northern Cape’s allocation under the water services infrastructure grant for 2018/19 amounts to R453 million and will be used to address water supply and sanitation challenges including drought interventions. A further R762 million, through the regional bulk infrastructure grant, is to be used for interventions to eradicate the water supply and sanitation backlogs, contribute to economic development and to further build our resilience to drought and the impacts of climate change.”

She said that artisanal miners would integrated into the mainstream economy.

“The mining sector continues to be the bedrock of our provincial economy and notably in recent times has been able to create much needed employment for our people. However, the sector requires a transformation agenda to include historically disadvantaged individuals.”

She indicated that the Department of Mineral Resources and the Swedish International Housing Company were inspecting several mineral-rich sites for the artisanal miners to start lawful mining operations.

Lucas added that an additional 2 411 households would be provided with free basic services, including water, electricity and sanitation, while 1 599 houses would be constructed.

“The Province welcomes the transfer of all Northern Cape title deeds from the Cape Town deeds office to the Kimberley deeds office as this will reduce the lead time to effect registrations.”