The newly built Natalspruit Hospital in Vosloorus. Picture: Antoine de Ras, 28/08/2014

Johannesburg - The “new” Natalspruit Hospital in Vosloorus has been renamed for ANC activist Thelle Mogoerane.

Gauteng MEC for Health Qedani Mahlangu presided over the official name-changing ceremony for the 821-bed hospital on Wednesday (20 August).

The hospital was built in Vosloorus to replace the old Natalspruit Hospital in Natalspruit, which is why many referred to it as the “new” Natalsprut Hospital - in Vosloorus.

This caused confusion among community members, who had previously questioned why the name had not been changed sooner.

Mogoerane was hung in 1983 alongside two other Umkhonto we Sizwe operatives after being found guilty of treason. It was alleged that the trio had been involved in two attacks that left four policemen dead.

In February, Democratic Alliance Member of Provincial Legislature and Shadow Health Minister Jack Bloom questioned whether the decision to name the hospital as well as two others after ANC struggle heroes had been public.

“We have not been given a rationale as to why these three hospitals are being named after particular people,” said Bloom in a February statement. “This is not a good precedent by a new premier who has pledged to be a servant of the people.”

However on Wednesday Gauteng Premier David Makhura said the name had been chosen by the Vosloorus community.

“ We did not decide the name, but the people of Vosloorus decided,” Makhura said. “They chose this name saying that Thelle was one of their best comrades who fought for the freedom during the years of apartheid.”

Mogoerane’s brother Thekiso spoke on behalf of the family at the renaming event. He said the family was happy that his brother had not been forgotten by the people. While he said Mogoerane was not the only East Rand activist to fight against apartheid, Thekiso added that the family was honoured that the hospital would bear his brother’s name.

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