AmaXhosa King Mpendulo Zwelonke Sigcawu has adopted the Centane-based Thafalofefe Hospital and partnered with the private sector in assisting in its renovations.
The king and his council has since established a developmental vehicle called The House of Phalo Legacy Initiative to facilitate all his development initiatives.
Among the anchor pillars of the initiative are education, health, safety and security, tourism, agriculture and arts and culture.
The rural hospital faces many challenges, including poor access roads. It takes about an hour to reach the hospital on the rugged 25km of gravel road from Centane CBD. The king boasted that the hospital was one of the best hospitals in South Africa when it came to TB treatement, which he said was prevalent in Centane.
“But the roads from both Centane and Butterworth are very bad. People even die before they can reach the hospital.
“I think we need a helicopter to transport patients from the villages to the hospital,” he said.
“I am doing my bit to improve the hospital. The health MEC [Dr Phumza Dyantyi] is doing hers, so the roads and public works MEC Thandiswa Marawu must please come to the party and do hers too,” urged the monarch.
Armed with paint, sheets and blankets, the king and his entourage – including ANC presidential hopeful Mathews Phosa and Mnquma mayor Thobeka Bikitsha – on Friday visited the hospital and donated 100 blankets.
“This hospital deserves the best modern technology, best health service and best wards with best medication,” the king said.
He said he decided to assist the hospital after the community and hospital board came to his Nqadu Great Place in Willowvale to raise their concerns about its conditions.
“I do not have enough resources personally, but we have joined hands to assist,” he said.
The king said a music concert will soon be held in Butterworth to raise funds for the hospital’s TB ward, with Phosa saying his foundation will also join the initiatives to assist.
“I appreciate what is being done by the king. The initiative he is doing to improve the lives of his community and ensure better health service for them is appreciated. He is indeed a working king,” Phosa said.
The 161-bed government funded hospital services a population of about 755 200 from 44 villages.
Bikitsha said an initiative to tar the access road to the hospital in the next three years, is on the cards.
“We are happy with the king’s initiative and as the municipality we will join hands and assist,” said Bikitsha.
Health department’s Amathole district manager Sindiswa Gede also expressed happiness at the initiative by the king, saying they would also join hands and assist. — firstname.lastname@example.org