By Siya Tsewu
Patients have finally been moved into the new building at Cecilia Makiwane Hospital.
The new structure, which took 10 years to build, was officially launched by Eastern Cape premier Phumulo Masualle in March.
The 560-bed hospital is on the same site as the old hospital.
Yesterday, dozens of patients for the hospital’s surgical wards were moved into the new building.
EMS staff were on site to move the patients by ambulance. Others were moved in wheelchairs and some were carried on stretchers.
Bulelwa Tiniso, of NU 1, who was moved in a wheelchair, said she had been admitted to Cecilia Makiwane on August 27 and had a foot amputation scheduled for August 29.
“I have been here since they cut my foot off. Now I look like Oscar [Pistorius] and I do not know when I will be discharged. But I am very excited about moving to the new building, I am sure everything there is nice and fresh,” Diniso said.
Not all surgical patients were moved across.
Patients who were still to have their operations remained in the old building.
Speaking from the new hospital, Khayalethu Magqorole, 32, said he had been admitted to CMH on Tuesday.
“They told us that we would be moved across and the move was easy. I thought it would be chaotic.
“This place is beautiful. It is so fancy. Each patient has their own TV. The old building was dark and gloomy. I am happy about the move,” he said.
Provincial health spokesman Sizwe Kupelo said they were ready for the official opening of the hospital on September 17.
“We are ready. Our administration staff has moved in and now the patients are moving in. This is a massive project for the department of health post-1994,” he said.
“We want to emphasise that we are not opening a private hospital.
“The hospital will operate like the public hospital that it is.
“We are warning people not to commit any crime; we are not selling jobs for cash at CMH.”
The new two-storey building cost the state R1.6-billion.
Nelson Mandela Academic Hospital in Mthatha was built for R500-million. Construction was started in 1997 and completed in 2003.