St Patrick’s Hospital in Mbizana, Eastern Cape, has been renamed in honour of late struggle icons Oliver Reginald and Adelaide Tambo.
The recently revamped Oliver and Adelaide Tambo Regional Hospital services 300 000 people in the Alfred Nzo district.
Premier Oscar Mabuyane unveiled the new name on Tuesday as the country celebrated the birth of OR Tambo, who is regarded by many as the father of South Africa’s democracy.
Tambo, who did not see the promised land of a democratic South Africa, passed away in 1993 on the eve of South Africa’s first democratic elections, which saw the country usher in a newly elected democratic government, led by his friend and comrade Nelson Mandela as the first democratically elected president.
Tambo would have been 103 years old on Tuesday.
President Cyril Ramaphosa also unveiled a statue at OR Tambo International Airport this morning in honour of OR, as the ANC’s longest serving president was affectionately known.
“In honour of uTata uOR Tambo and his late wife uMama uAdelaide Tambo, as the provincial government we have taken a decision to confer both their names to this hospital that has been known as St Patrick’s. This is to thank them for the sacrifices they made for us to be free,” Mabuyane said at the unveiling.
“We are within our rights to bestow their names to this hospital, as this democratic government is led by the ANC of OR Tambo and Mama Adelaide Tambo. We took a conscious decision to rebuild this hospital into a state-of-the-art health facility to provide quality healthcare to the people of this region.
“We are bestowing their names in this hospital because both of them are part of our identity. We want their names to inspire the health workers at this facility to strive for excellence in providing health services to our people.”
The premier said the provincial government made an investment of R247 million for the development of the hospital that comprises an outpatient department, 13 wards, two theaters, a 15-drawer mortuary, 64 units in the nurses’ home, 17 units in the doctors’ quarters and 15 units for allied health professionals.
“We now proudly have a facility that is fit for purpose to serve the more than 300 000 of the Alfred Nzo district, offering critical health services,” Mabuyane said.
Some of those critical health services offered in the revamped hospital include a TB infection control and isolation area, occupational health and safety areas, a saving mothers and babies area, a clinical waste management area and a management of severe malnutrition area.
He said the government of the Eastern Cape was revamping a number of hospitals, most of which were built by missionaries and are now in a poor state.
So far it has invested R594 million for the refurbishment.
“We are not only revamping physical infrastructure, we are also heightening resourcing of our hospitals with personnel, medicine and modern information and communications technology equipment.
“A few days ago I asked the Solidarity Fund to support the opening of this regional hospital and guess what, uMama Gloria Serobe, who heads that fund, accepted my request and they have sent 12 ventilators and two portable video laryngoscopes to this hospital. We must knock at every door to uplift our communities. That should be our attitude,” said Mabuyane.
Refurbishment work at Madzikane kaZulu Hospital, Mount Ayliff Hospital, Taylor Bequest Hospital, Greenville Hospital and Siphethu Hospital is ongoing, and Mabuyane said these projects “will give us an additional 130 beds that are critical in our fight against the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic and beyond”.
Of paying tribute Tambo, Ramaphosa said the struggle stalwart was “one of the finest leaders and visionaries our country has produced”.
“He led the struggle for freedom through its darkest and most difficult moments. He spent three decades in exile, working tirelessly to forge international support for the anti-apartheid struggle. To the world, OR Tambo was the voice of South Africa’s liberation movement.
“He articulated the aspirations of every South African man, woman and child who yearned for freedom.”