President Ramaphosa opens Dr Pixley Ka Isaka Seme Memorial Hospital

Friday, November 24, 2023

The opening of the Dr Pixley Ka Isaka Seme Memorial Hospital is a reflection of government’s commitment to advancing the call of the Freedom Charter.

The Charter calls for free medical care and hospitalisation to be provided for all and for the health of women and children to be prioritised.

President Cyril Ramaphosa said this at the official opening of the Dr Pixley Ka Isaka Seme Memorial Hospital in Kwa-Mashu, KwaZulu-Natal, on Friday. 

“This facility has been built in response to the growing pressing healthcare needs of the approximately 1.5 million residents of Kwa-Mashu, Inanda, Ntuzuma and the surrounding communities in northern Durban.

“It will relieve pressure on the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Hospital and Addington Hospital, and will cater for inpatients at a regional level, with referrals from surrounding district level facilities,” he said. 

The President highlighted that data from the Census 2022 points not just to a growing population, but confirms that the vast majority of South Africans rely on the public sector to meet their healthcare needs.

Another report published this month by Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) furthermore points to the growing healthcare burden of non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, chronic lower respiratory diseases, cancers and others.

“With more people living with non-communicable diseases, it is essential that healthcare systems respond accordingly at a primary healthcare level, particularly with regards to regular screening to ensure timely diagnosis and treatment. This facility will play a critical role in this regard,” he said. 

He added that it is pleasing to note that the hospital has an active primary healthcare outreach programme that is bringing much-needed healthcare services closer to the people.


The commissioning of the hospital was implemented in a phased approach from August 2021. First radiology was commissioned, followed by optometry and dermatology, and the migration of Internal Medicine from Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Hospital.

In January this year, the Emergency Department commenced with providing services. Currently all emergency cases in the north of eThekwini are taken directly from the scene, from primary healthcare centers, community healthcare centers and district hospitals.

The facility offers an impressive range of services including critical care, dental, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, psychological services, dietetics, audiology, social work and many more.

The hospital also has a strong academic and research component and is one of the centers for postgraduate medical training, as well as providing rotation for final year medical students from the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

This hospital is also the first government hospital in the province to adopt an insourced model in components such as security, cleaning, laundry and food services.

With respect to human resources, out of the approved hospital establishment of 1 513, a total of 1 383 posts have already been filled as of end September 2023. The construction of the facility itself supported job creation and small business development.

The President said he had no doubt that the hospital will improve the health outcomes of all the communities it serves.

“We have no doubt that the people of this community and of this province know that we are [a] government that prioritises the needs of all, but especially of society’s most vulnerable.”

President Ramaphosa further said he was honoured to be present at the official opening of the hospital and that there can be no more befitting a name for this facility than that of the great Dr. Pixley Ka Isaka Seme. 

He lauded him as a man who was the moving spirit behind the formation of the African National Congress, the oldest liberation movement in the African continent.

“He was a committed Pan-Africanist and a humanist, who famously spoke of a brighter day rising upon Africa; and of an Africa whose sons and daughters who would one day walk in the light of progress, freedom and equality.

Healthcare for all

President Ramaphosa added that the hospital stands as a testament to government’s commitment to ensure that the right to life, the right to quality healthcare, and the right to equality will never be qualified, or determined on the basis of where you live, or how much or little you have. 

As the country will mark 30 years of democracy next year, the President said it will be a time to reflect on how far we have come in realising the aspirations of the Freedom Charter, the Constitution with its Bill of Rights, and the National Development Plan. 

“That we are a country that is able to provide quality healthcare services, free, to the population can certainly be counted as amongst our greatest achievements.

“That we are moving ahead with the introduction of National Health Insurance that will further democratise access to healthcare services, is something of which we can be proud,” the President said. –