The barren land, situated a stone’s throw away from the Peter Mokaba Stadium, will soon be turned into an academic hospital, one of five flagship academic hospitals around the country.
Equipped with advanced medical technology, the minister said the hospital will offer cutting-edge diagnostic procedures and innovative treatments.
The project, which was launched during this year’s Nelson Mandela International Day, has been a long time coming since the initial planning of the hospital started in the 2008/09 financial year.
However, Phaahla said he was pleased when the National Treasury approved a master plan for the 488-bed hospital in 2022.
“This day of laying the foundation for the construction of the Limpopo Central Academic Hospital is a culmination of the work of many years by many people, some of whom are here while others are not.”
The Minister announced that the health facility - in association with the health science faculty of the University of Limpopo - will make a significant contribution to health education and research.
“The establishment of a specialist hospital in this province will bolster the health-sciences education and training, creating more opportunities for future generations to pursue careers in health sciences.
“The university’s health sciences faculty, which houses the medical school, must start concrete plans to attract specialists and super-specialists to train doctors and other health professionals.”
Phaahla is of the view that the establishment will reduce Limpopo’s dependence on Gauteng for specialised medical care.
Meanwhile, as a teaching institution, it will also provide valuable educational opportunities for health-sciences students ranging from medical students to nurses, physiotherapists abd pharmacists..
The hospital will also offer emergency health services, critical care, surgery, rehabilitation, and ancillary services.
“This will not be an ivory tower, but part of a network based on the foundation of primary healthcare,” Phaahla said.
Meanwhile, he said the success of the execution is going to depend on co-operation by all the roleplayers.
The department has assigned the Development Bank of South Africa (DBSA) as an implementing agent, working with technical professionals of Sakhiwo and Enza construction company.
“This team is under very strict instructions, which were given by President [Cyril] Ramaphosa. He said to me that this must not be another Eskom-like Medupi, where you budget so much and you end up spending three or four times more. I assured the president that all those shenanigans will not happen here.”
Phaahla called on the service providers to deliver a quality product, on time and within budget.
At various stages of construction, the department expects to produce about 2,000 jobs and about 2,000 more, once it is fully operational.
Phaahla thanked the Limpopo government for its co-operation and assistance, and former health minister Aaron Motsoaledi who started the process and laid the foundation for the hospital to be built.
“I am confident that if we embrace the spirit of President Mandela; of doing everything for the most vulnerable we can disappoint the naysayers.
“This Limpopo Central Hospital will be one of the pillars to deliver the National Health Insurance. In Madiba’s memory, let us deliver the Limpopo Central Hospital.”
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