Residents of the Free State town of Parys are over the moon following the opening of a new clinic last week. This new facility will help ease the burden of overcrowding often experienced at the nearby Tumahole clinic.

Free State Premier, Sisi Ntombela, cut the ribbon last Wednesday as jubilant residents looked on. Built by Sasol Mining, the R12.5 million clinic is the first of its kind in the Fezile Daba district.

Mojafela Singo, 35, said he hopes the clinic boosts the morale of patients and health workers.

“The clinic only needs government to hire more nurses to help speed-up services. This will prevent long queues which last for hours,” he said.  

Turning over a new leaf

Another resident and member of the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), Thapelo Lebajoa, said that the new clinic signals new life to the people.

“This will encourage many of our people to utilise the services on offer. All thanks to those who spent millions on building this beautiful facility. We are hopeful that the locals will keep it beautiful,” he added.

Ntombela confirmed that the cutting-edge facility would benefit a more significant proportion of the community since the small Tumahole clinic could not accommodate all the patients. 

“The old building was small, and it limited both staff and the patients. For a long time, the people of Tumahole have been waiting for this opportunity. Now, they can gladly get the help they need. This is a major boost in our commitment to delivering quality health services to our people. This new clinic brings much relief with an average of 20 000 patients visiting the old clinic per quarter,” she added. 

SA’s first solar-powered clinic 

The facility is the first municipal clinic in South Africa to solely operate on solar power and has two 2500-litre water catchment systems to ensure uninterrupted service. The facility houses eight consulting rooms with x-ray capabilities, a dental care room, a counselling room, a pharmacy, and a kitchen for the clinic staff.

Over the years, Sasol has invested in several initiatives in the Ngwathe Local Municipality.

They include:

  • The building of the multi-purpose centre in Vredefort
  • The upgrading of the Khanya Community Health Centre
  • The provision of B3 printers
  • Providing blankets to the less fortunate during winter months and;
  • Hand sanitisers at the height of the devastating COVID-19 pandemic.

Rightwell Laxa, Senior Vice President at Sasol’s Sasolburg and Ekandustria Operations, said the company aims to do more for nearby areas.

“The well-being of the communities in which we operate is very important to Sasol. We are therefore delighted to hand the Parys clinic over today as a part of our initiatives to ensure that our communities’ health remains a priority. At the same time, we are also handing four emergency vehicles to the Ngwathe Fire Department to boost their response time, especially during this cold weather we have been experiencing,” said Laxa.

Brandfort residents yearn for their own

While Parys residents celebrated, the community of Brandfort has called on the provincial government to replace their old clinic. It has since been vandalised after being shut for no reason.

According to Sellwane Mohapelwa, a community leader, residents were angered by having to put up with one clinic in the area. Many returned home after hours of queueing and not receiving help. He also pinpointed severe nurse shortages. 

Health MEC, Montsheng Tsiu, admitted that there were quite a few towns with small clinics.

“Brandfort had two clinics, but we had to close the one down and bring its staff to the new one to allow services to run smoothly. We know that what we are doing isn’t enough for everybody, but we are trying to give our people the health care they deserve,” she said. – Health-e News 

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