A ‘bridge for rebirth’

The R104m District Six Community Day Centre (CDC) is the Western Cape government’s contribution to the redevelopment of District Six, said Premier Helen Zille last week.


The new health facility forms part of the province’s R5.6bn spend on health infrastructure since 2009 – R3.8bn on new and replacement infrastructure and R1.8bn on maintenance.


“This facility symbolises a bridge in the rebirth of District Six. The significance that this community holds – not only for Cape Town as a city, but for the entire nation – is well known. To be part of this historic occasion is indeed a great honour,” said Zille.


She was delivering the keynote address at the official opening of the CDC on Wednesday 25 July.


There was jubilation as Zille and provincial minister of health Dr Nomafrench Mbombo led the celebrations, with guests including health professionals and members of the community in attendance.


The Cape Malay Choir kept the mood jovial, with the audience singing along to their well-known “klopse” songs.


Zille could not hold back her excitement about the new facility.


“This is an extraordinary day. And when you look at this building, remember it is also a green building. The design allows for natural ventilation and lighting, there is rainwater harvesting that will be used to flush the toilets and a whole range of other things, and there are energy-saving bulbs,” she said.


The four-storey CDC will provide a comprehensive primary healthcare package of services to a population of 70 000 from Woodstock, Salt River, Vredehoek, Bo-Kaap, the City Bowl, and other surrounding areas, as well as clients commuting into the CBD.


The Woodstock and Robbie Nurock community day centres had previously serviced the local residents, before it was decided that these would merge into this new state-of-the-art facility.


In line with the Western Cape provincial government’s vision for front-line healthcare, the centre offers a number of services including child and women’s healthcare, HIV/Aids treatment with antiretrovirals, medical male circumcision and radiography, as well as the dispensing of medicine for chronic conditions.


Zille told the audience she hoped the “fantastic” facility would act as a catalyst for the redevelopment of District Six.


Mbombo told the audience that more than 2000 jobs had been created as a result of the new centre.


Similar facilities have been opened and more would be opened in various parts of the Western Cape, said Mbombo.


She said the department hopes to make services accessible and complaints easy to register with the announcement of a hotline.


“We empower patients so that they don’t have to wait – that is why we have a hotline number. They can use a ‘please call me’ and the message will immediately go to head office and someone will call you back,” she said.


A health committee has also been established to deal with complaints and create awareness about services offered and patients’ rights.


“We have appointed a health committee so they can also look at complaints, also so they can create awareness outside in terms of diseases and what services and what rights of the people.”Meanwhile, Gaironessa Knoll (58), a Manenberg resident who works in Cape Town and collects her medication from the centre, sang its praises: “When I first came here, it was amazing for me to see how clean it is, how nice it is; the nurses and doctors are doing excellent work.”


Residents can register their complaints or queries on the hotline: 0860 142 142.