In a momentous event held on the 24th of November 2023, President Cyril Ramaphosa officially opened the Dr Pixley Isaka Ka Seme Memorial Hospital in Kwa-Mashu, KwaZulu-Natal. The ceremony was attended by esteemed guests, including MEC for Health, Ms. Nomagugu Simelane, Minister of Health, Dr. Joe Phaahla, Premier of KwaZulu/Natal, Ms. Nomusa Dube-Ncube, and various representatives from political parties, traditional leadership, interfaith communities, civil society organizations, and the local community.
The hospital, named after the visionary Dr. Pixley Isaka Ka Seme, founding spirit of the African National Congress, symbolizes a commitment to his ideals of progress, freedom, and equality. President Ramaphosa highlighted the hospital’s role in addressing the pressing healthcare needs of over 1.5 million residents in Kwa-Mashu and surrounding areas, relieving pressure on existing healthcare facilities.
Citing recent census data, the President underscored the reliance of the majority of South Africans on the public sector for healthcare. With a focus on non-communicable diseases, the hospital’s services, including Critical Care, Dental, Physiotherapy, and more, are positioned to respond effectively to the growing healthcare burden.
The phased approach to the hospital’s commissioning, incorporating radiology, optometry, dermatology, and emergency services, reflects a meticulous strategy. Furthermore, the hospital pioneers an insourced model for components like security, cleaning, laundry, and food services—an innovative approach in the public sector.
President Ramaphosa commended the hospital’s academic and research endeavors, emphasizing its role in postgraduate medical training and collaboration with the University of KwaZulu/Natal. He also acknowledged the environmental consciousness of the facility, incorporating green building principles and energy-saving measures.
Looking towards the future, the President affirmed the government’s dedication to quality healthcare, citing the upcoming 30th anniversary of democracy and the ongoing efforts to introduce National Health Insurance. Reflecting on the lessons of the COVID-19 pandemic, he stressed the need to strengthen local health systems for future emergencies.
In closing, President Ramaphosa urged the community to cherish and protect the hospital, emphasizing its significance in promoting equality and access to quality healthcare. He expressed gratitude to healthcare professionals and all involved in making the hospital a reality, concluding with a call to continue serving the South African people without leaving anyone behind.