No new ‘GF Jooste’ hospital, 10 years later

ANC MPLs visited the site of the old GF Jooste Hospital last year and highlighted delays with the establishment of the provincial government’s promised bigger and better Klipfontein Regional Hospital in Manenberg. Picture: Armand Hough/Independent Newspapers

ANC MPLs visited the site of the old GF Jooste Hospital last year and highlighted delays with the establishment of the provincial government’s promised bigger and better Klipfontein Regional Hospital in Manenberg. Picture: Armand Hough/Independent Newspapers

Published Feb 24, 2024


This year marks 10 years since the decommissioning of the GF Jooste Hospital and to date plans for the promised Klipfontein Regional Hospital by the DA-led Western Cape government remain in their infancy.

The hospital, built in 1974, was a historic site which offered many services under one roof.

Initially it was built for patients to recuperate after an operation but in 1996 it was expanded to become a trauma emergency hospital. It had two medical and surgical wards, a high care unit and an operating theatre.

In 2000 it also had a rape crisis centre which contributed to high conviction rates.

In 2001 an outpatient department was opened and in 2003 Nelson Mandela opened the hospital’s infectious disease clinic.

It serviced the communities of Manenberg, Khayelitsha, Philippi, Crossroads, Mandalay, Heideveld, Mitchells Plain, Nyanga and Gugulethu. In 2014, the centre was demolished, with talk of grand plans for a new facility that was meant to be bigger and better, with millions allocated for the project by national government.

However, 10 years later, there is still nothing but rubble on a site that once played a vital role for communities in need.

“Why did they take it away?” asked a resident, 53-year-old grandmother Ilanza Burt.

“I miss GF Jooste Hospital. I was treated there for a head injury. We had no problems with Jooste. We didn’t know they were demolishing it. We would have said no. Most of Manenberg’s people were very upset and are still upset. If we can just get Jooste back. We all go to Heideveld now but they cannot cope, they are short staffed. Plus to get there is another story. Jooste was good for the community,” she said.

Community activist Roegshanda Pascoe recalled a story about a neighbour called auntie Angie.

“Auntie Angie worked in the kitchen at Jooste. Before she died, she had Alzheimer’s. So she would stand in the yard looking over at the site because she used to walk to work.

“That hospital had a lot of history, especially when it came to emergencies.

“When the ambulance was not able to come, you could rely on a neighbour to at least taking you as far as Jooste. There you would get assistance and be referred to Groote Schuur, if needed. Now there is nothing. It all goes with politics.

“The sad part is, we had our own auditorium that had been sponsored, I don’t think it was five years old when it was demolished. They just didn’t care. You see a repeat of District Six, over and over.

“Then it’s expected of our people to forget what happened.”

Last year, ANC health spokesperson Rachel Windvogel visited the site to find only a dusty cement mixer, a dilapidated site office and a small pile of bricks. The visit came after a response to a parliamentary question found that despite R24 million being allocated by the National Treasury to the project since 2019, not a cent had been spent.

Windvogel said she believed there was no political will to complete the project.

The Old GF Jooste Hospital premises where thieves were stealing fittings from the abandoned building after it was closed down. Picture: Tracey Adams/Independent Newspapers

“Ten years, and the money is available. If there was no money, I would understand. It’s very sad, I believe only a change of leadership will see this project get done,” she said.

Western Cape Health Department spokesperson Dwayne Evans said the project was still in the concept stage.

“The Western Cape Government Department of Health and Wellness (WCGHW) views the construction of the Klipfontein Regional Hospital as a mega project which will greatly benefit the sub-district communities in the Cape Town metro and the larger Western Cape population.

“The Western Cape Government Department of Infrastructure (WCGDOI) is the implementing agent on this project for the WCGHW. The project is in Concept Stage (stage 2). The original professional services providers tender was cancelled and had to be re-advertised, evaluated, and adjudicated. This resulted in a delay in the commencement of the project.

“The WCGDOI Infrastructure asset manager has appointed a town planner to commence land application processes (rezoning and erven consolidation).

“The professional service providers have completed preliminary site investigations to inform the design of the hospital,” Evans said.

The new regional hospital is intended to act as a referral hospital for surrounding communities.

“It will relieve pressure on the Groote Schuur, Red Cross Children’s Hospital, Mitchell’s Plain, and New Somerset facilities, where patients are currently referred to for specialist services, and Mowbray Maternity, where complicated obstetric cases are referred to.

Vandalised parts of the abandoned hospital.

“In short, the location of this facility within Manenberg will be a massive asset to the Western Cape, providing essential healthcare to communities such as Hanover Park, Heideveld, Gugulethu, Inzame Zabantu, Crossroads, Mitchells Plain, Lentegeur, Phillipi and surrounds,” said Evans.

He said the anticipated construction start date for the Klipfontein Regional Hospital was estimated to be in August 2028.

Cape Times