Pretoria – The official opening of the Dr Harry Surtie Hospital in the Northern Cape and the Natalspruit Hospital in Gauteng are an important milestone in the country’s infrastructure plans.

Briefing media in Cape Town on Thursday, following Cabinet’s ordinary meeting, Minister in the Presidency responsible for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, Jeff Radebe, said Cabinet had welcomed the official opening of the R1 billion Dr Harry Surtie Hospital by President Jacob Zuma on 2 September.

This was four days after the Minister of Health Dr Aaron Motsoaledi opened the Natalspruit Hospital.

The Minister said the hospitals were among many important milestones in government’s national infrastructure programme.

The programme will see 43 hospitals and 213 clinics built over the next five years to meet the needs of the National Health Insurance system.

The South African Government adopted the National Infrastructure Plan in 2012, it intends to transform the economic landscape while simultaneously creating significant numbers of new jobs, and to strengthen the delivery of basic services.

Natalspruit hospital, which cost R1.7 billion to construct in a period of eight years, is furnished with 821 beds and spans an area of over 7 000m2. It offers services such as family medicine, 24-hour casualty, medico-legal, obstetrics and gynaecological, mortuary, radiography, and an eye nose and throat clinic.

It will take referrals from clinics, community health care centres and district hospitals, serving Thokoza, Vosloorus, Katlehong, Magugala Heights, Zonkizikwe, Phola Park, Palm Ridge, Eden Park, Germiston and Leondale.

Meanwhile, the Dr Harry Surtie Hospital serves the western half of the Northern Cape Province, as Upington alone has a population of at least 70 000 people.