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New hospital for a healthier Limpopo

Written by Chris Bathembu
President Jacob Zuma announced plans for a R250 million hospital in Limpopo to address critical challenges in the province's health system.

A new state-of-the-art hospital is on the way for Siloam village in Limpopo. President Zuma made this announcement during a recent visit to the province where he focused on healthcare needs in one of South Africa's most rural regions.

The President's visit forms part of his performance monitoring exercise to ensure that government's targets to improve conditions in the country are met. These targets focus on the priorities of health services, education, jobs, safety and security and rural development.

Other provinces

Accompanied by Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi and Limpopo Premier Cassel Mathale, it was the second regional visit of this kind by the President. The first was to the Eastern Cape where President Zuma zoomed in on education. He is scheduled to visit five other provinces in the coming months.

Speaking to about 200 people at Siloam village, some 40 kilometres from Beit Bridge on the border with Zimbabwe, Zuma said the hospital would be built in phases over a period of three years to replace the old one in the area.

“The monitoring we are doing is not through papers, it is concrete and we want to see and hear what people are saying so when something is not working it can be changed.”
Performance monitoring

“We are here to do performance monitoring and evaluation and we are (checking) how government is performing and as part of that we want to ensure that you are happy with the services that are being rendered to you,” the President said.

He said the new monitoring and evaluation approach would ensure that issues of health and education became a top
priority on government’s service-delivery agenda. President Zuma inspected the current Siloam Hospital where he saw the challenges first-hand.

Concrete monitoring

Members of the community complained about poor service and bad conditions at the hospital. Nurses also came in for harsh criticism from residents. They complained that they often had to wait for several hours at the hospital before receiving attention.

The President promised the community that their complaints would be investigated and that action would be taken.

“The monitoring we are doing is not through papers, it is concrete and we want to see and hear what people are saying so when something is not working it can be changed.”

'Speak your minds'

Poor people living in shacks made use of the opportunity to ask the President to address other pressing problems such as unemployment and lack of facilities. He pointed out that his visit focused on health matters, particularly the hospital, but asked those who raised other issues to write them down and pass the list to his officials.

The President encouraged those who attended to speak their minds. “Don’t be afraid of the Government,” he told them.

After the meeting in Siloam, President Zuma went on to visit a hospital in Lebowakgomo.