Construction has begun on the new Natalspruit Hospital which is being built on solid groundHealthcare and job creation in Ekurhuleni are expected to be given a major boost as construction of the mammoth new R900 million state-of-the-art hospital in Kathorus (Katlehong, Thokoza and Vosloorus) gets under way.
The Gauteng Department of Public Transport, Roads and Works handed over the site for construction to Mvela Phanda -Natalspruit Contractors this week.
Paul Gresse, the project manager from Monykolo and Associates, yesterday said the clearing and excavation of the site, which is part of phase one, was already under way.The hospital is scheduled for completion on March 31 2009.
It will replace Natalspruit Hospital in Katlehong, which was built in 1959. It has been found to be unsafe because of high-risk dolomitic site on which it is situated.
Dolomite is a common sedimentary rock-forming mineral that can be found in deep, thick underground beds and is a type of stone that erodes in wet weather, creating sinkholes.
"After numerous studies it was decided that Natalspruit Hospital is situated in a high-risk area that it cannot be maintained anymore and had to be rebuilt on safer ground.
"The sinkholes created by the eroded dolomite stone were getting bigger and becoming very dangerous," Gresse said.But he added that the high-risk area was not the only reason why the Department of Health had decided to move the hospital to ore stable ground.
The department had identified the need for improved healthcare capacity in the Kathorus area, situated about 30km south-east of Joburg.
The current hospital will not be left as an abandoned building. "The maintainable part of the hospital will serve as a community healthcare clinic," said Joseph Manamela, the internal project manager from the Gauteng Department of Public Transport, Roads and Works.
Community clinics are used as the first point of reference for the community. If the clinic cannot assist them, they are referred to the nearest hospital, and in the case of Kathorus, they will be referred to the new Natalspruit Hospital.
The design and planning of the required services started in October 2005 with the appointment of a professional team, which included the construction project management team.
The site was identified and approved for the construction of the new hospital, on condition that the existing sports facilities were relocated.
Gresse explained that phase one included the enabling works, bulk services and earthworks on the new site.
On April 26 this year, that part of phase one was officially handed over for construction to the appointed contractors.Due to the critical nature of the project, phase 2, which includes the construction of the 760-bed hospital and other, smaller buildings, were scheduled to start last week.To enable this, the professional team and the Gauteng Department of Public Transport, Roads and Works planned and designed the hospital in about six months. It was put out to tender on August 25.
The new hospital will include an in-patient department and out-patient section, a clinic and a 24-hour emergency department.Services will include administration, catering, stores, pharmacy, waste control, a mortuary, security, a workshop, a laundry, cleaning and transport.
Article was written by Anna Louw
The Star, Thursday 9 November 2006