Modern, Growing, Successful Province

MEC Mxolisi Sokatsha's address at the official opening of the Keolopile Olepeng Clinic

Honourable MEC Mxolisi Sokatsha's address at the official opening of the Keolopile Olepeng Clinic, John Taolo Gaetsewe District – Northern Cape

20 February 2013

Programme Director

Members of the Executive Council

Chairperson of the Potfolio Committee on Health

Hon. Executive Mayor,

Hon. Mayors of the different Municipalities,
Your Excellencies, Traditional leaders

Esteemed guests

Head of Department, Ms Gugulethu Matlaopane,

Senior Managers

Ladies and gentlemen

Dumelang!!!

It is indeed a great honour for me to be part of this gathering to officiate on this important milestone in the history of the community of Gamopedi.

In fact, before I go any further, I want to declare that I am a proud member of the ANC.

Now, I know that the following question is rushing through your mind, “why is the MEC telling us this”.

It is because:

The ANC is the oldest liberation movement in Africa, 101 years! It is not only the oldest liberation movement in terms of its years, it is also one of the most accomplished; its history is rich with content and anecdotes without which the history of humanity would be a distorted history. It continues to live to the maxim of building a better life for all and, not for the few. The ANC keeps to the promise of ensuring that, indeed our people shall govern. It is the ANC which has only been in power for eighteen years but has surpassed those who have been in power before in terms of restoring human dignity.
By this we mean that our people, since 1994, for the first time in the 300 old history of South Africa- have a legitimately constituted government committed to restoring our human dignity.

Ladies and gentlemen, I am not here to speak on behalf the ANC but, I want to share with you that in fact this event was supposed to have taken place two days ago but could not because our glorious movement- the ANC convened a Provincial Executive Committee Lekgotla which convenes annually to review and chart the way-forward the work of Government as mandated by the ANC.

Amongst other issues
To intensify interaction and interface with people through cabinet and council meets the people campaigns
To focus on change in the way government does work, which means we must have the audacity to change and urgently attend to lack urgency
We should at all times guard against the abuse of the relationship between Government and the ANC
Everybody here including myself need to understand that we are here on Government mandate inspired by the will of the people, and not here to serve our own interests, “the people shall Government”.

The President always emphasises the point that everybody should be at their work stations at the time they are expected to. So if you are supposed to be at work at 07:30, then that is what you should do because our people are reliant on the ringing call of “a better life for all”.

Ladies and gentlemen, Chapter two of the Constitution containing the Bill of Rights, that clearly states that:

“Everyone has the right to have access to health care services, including reproductive health care and no one may be refused emergency medical treatment”.

In addition, the issues raised by communities in the build-up to April 2009 elections provided the basis for Health being prioritised as part of the five priority areas to which the ANC led government has committed to deliver on in till the end of the term of the current administration.

Therefore, this opening ceremony is a direct result of the issues raised by communities in the build-up to April 2009 elections and further emphasised by the recent ANC National Conference which was held in December 2012 further providing the basis for Health care being prioritised.

The prioritisation of health has been coupled with serious commitments that could be measured through ceremonies of this nature and others, towards the provision of equal access to healthcare services for better life for all, our people.

Programme Director, this clinic must ensure that Gamopedi community receive regular visits from dedicated health professionals, have 24 hour access to a health specialist for consultation and be able to make referrals when necessary.

But, there have been challenges to this extent and we are here to begin to address this ideal. We are alive to the fact that there are challenges or barriers to health integration and provision as mentioned due to several operational related challenges.

However, the successful implementation of health care programs depends on effective partnerships with the institutions of civil society and government in improving the delivery of quality health care.

Ladies and gentlemen, Moshaweng Municipality in John Taolo Gaetsewe District is one of the 18 districts that have been identified to receive increased support in improving maternal, neonatal, child and women's health and nutrition at all levels of the health care system.

Therefore, this clinic is highly informed by our government service delivery mechanisms to needy and deserving communities, such as Gamopedi.

Government has identified the need to overhaul the national health system. This overhaul will assist us in the attainment of our health priorities in the future in line with the NHI’s objective of bringing health care services closer to the people.

They include the accelerated implementation of the HIV and AIDS strategic plan, the need to address the co-infection of TB/HIV and to increase government's focus on high burden of disease.

Ladies and Gentlemen, let us ensure that these priorities are successfully implemented, as its imperative that, as government, we continue to enhance effective partnerships with the institutions of traditional leadership and civil society in improving the quality of service delivery in areas under the jurisdiction of traditional leaders and provincial government.

Ladies and Gentlemen;

There is no doubt that traditional leaders have a critical role to play in matters of local governance and service delivery, as we strongly believe working together we can do more.

Ladies and Gentlemen, this opening offers us an opportunity to strengthen the existing health system and deliver a package of essential health care services survival interventions to communities such as, Gamopedi.

Programme Director, I want to conclude by saying that our collective resolve to respond to the plight of the poor and needy communities should serve as rallying point for our partnership to make a difference, and change the lives of the people of Northern Cape for the better.

In addition, I wish to encourage the community of Gamopedi to make use of this facility for improvement of our health outcomes.

Lastly, I wish to note that gradually step by step we are moving away from our painful past towards improving the quality of health services and ensure health service excellence for all in our districts, province and country.

Whatever difficulties and challenges we face, we dare not to lose focus on the responsibility to the plight of our poor masses. If we fail, history will judge us very harshly.

In conclusion, I want to say that this clinic belongs to all masses of our people in Gamopedi. Therefore, it is your responsibility as community members and stakeholders to take care of it and protect it from vandalism.

If fact, Ladies and Gentlemen, I want to stress the word VANDALISM because a few months ago we witnessed the burning of schools and public infrastructure by community members who were protesting in some areas of this District. I was fortunate to be part of the delegation who at the time was dispatched by the ANC to go and interact with the situation.

What these protestors told us when we met with them, was that they were vandalising schools because they wanted tarred road in this area.

Now, Ladies and Gentlemen, it is suicidal to vandalise or burn down a clinic or a school to make your point about shortage of the lack of services in certain areas.

Not only is it wrong, it is also criminal.

Ladies and gentlemen, on behalf of the ANC led government, allow me to officially open this newly built Community Health Centre in honour of our late leader, comrade and friend, Keolopile Olepeng, who served this community selflessly. Therefore, this facility will be called Keolopile Olepeng. I trust and hope that services to be rendered here will meet your needs and expectations.

Together we can do more!!!!!!

Realeboga!!!

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