On 3 May 2019, the Northern Cape Department of Health relaunched the Olifantshoek Community Health centre which has undergone a conversion and refurbishment funded by the SIOC Community Development Trust (SIOC-cdt). The facility was officially relaunched by the MEC for Health Me Fufe Makatong. The conversion of the Olifantshoek Hospital into a Community Health Centre was a request to SIOC-cdt through the Gamagara Development Forum from the Northern Cape Department of Education some years ago to fund a project that would see the rehabilitation of the old facility and the addition of maternity services.
The objective of this conversion is to increase capacity of the facility to provide better access to healthcare which is safer for the people of Olifantshoek and surrounding communities. The conversion project included the following:
- Construction of new maternity wing comprising of pre-natal (consulting rooms and beds, two delivery rooms accompanied with state-of-the-art equipment) and post-natal (comprising 13 beds and two neonatal incubators or nurseries) for care of mothers and their babies;
- Renovation of whole interior of the facility that was aging to improve the look and feel of the facility;
- Construction of a guard house and erection of a Clearview perimeter fence to improve security right round the facility;
- Construction of a compressor room to resuscitate patients and save more lives;
- A fire pump and hydrant to ensure the safety of patients and the facility in case of a fire; and
- Construction of 23 parking bays for visitors and staff excluding 6 additional bays that are paraplegic compliant to cater for the less abled members of the community.
The SIOC-cdt Health Projects Coordinator, Mr Paul May, said of this conversion project ‘’ SIOC-cdt is happy to see this project into fruition, as there has been a great need for such as facility in this community. This investment will help reduce child and maternity challenges locally and minimise the pressure placed on local clinics and other referral hospitals. As a community Trust established to ensure socio-economic development in our beneficiary communities, we didn’t hesitate to invest in this all-important project which will ultimately improve the lives of the Olifantshoek and surrounding communities.‘
SIOC-cdt believes in local participation in the economy and value generation, hence during construction of the Olifantshoek Community Health Centre, the project saw up to 7 SMMEs obtaining contracts for elements of the scope including brickwork, electrical work, paving, fencing and others. At its peak the various contractors employed approximately 15 community members from Olifantshoek to assist with less skilled components of the work. This was in line with SIOC-cdt’s target to ensure that at least 30% of the Project value is allocated to local service providers and that the procurement of materials is from within the Gamagara Municipal jurisdiction or surrounding areas .
In conclusion, Mr May apologised to the community of Olifantshoek for the delay in reopening of the facility since it was closed for these upgrades some years ago. ‘’ As we have communicated consistently in our public engagements, SIOC-cdt is committed to working with the local community to improve the lives of the most vulnerable groups of society such as women, the elderly and children and as usual we will do this in partnership with government, who are the custodians of these developments, we wish the new Olifantshoek Community Health Centre staff the best in the new journey as they to serve this community ‘’
SIOC-cdt was established in 2006 by Kumba Iron Ore Limited to invest in the development of the communities in which the company operates. The trust focuses primarily on beneficiary communities adjacent to the Sishen Iron Ore Company (SIOC) mining activities in the Northern Cape and Thabazimbi local municipality in Limpopo and has invested significantly in community development projects aimed at ensuring sustainability beyond mining operations.
SIOC-cdt has substantiated its stated intention of “defining ourselves through actions not words” by investing over R1 billion in socio-economic and community development projects in its beneficiary communities.
Issued on behalf of the Board of Trustees by:
Kgomotso Zimase Marketing and Communications Officer – SIOC-cdt