Seshego Drug Rehabilitation Centre a first for the province

POLOKWANE – The R107 million rehabilitation centre  will take in its first patients in October after the practical handover to the Department of Social Development.

Construction of the centre first began in 2010/11.

Acting Social Development MEC, Dr Phophi Ramathuba, the Head of Department, Daphney Ramakgopa, representatives of the Independent Development Trust (IDT) and the construction firm Masingita Number Two, led the media on a tour of the complex on Friday.

Masingita Number Two was appointed in March to finalise construction of the complex.

The Seshego Drug Rehabilitation Centre is set to be opened in October.

The tour aimed to give the media insight into the centre and refute allegations made by the DA after their recent oversight visit to the facility which alleged some irregular findings.

Ramathuba acknowledged construction of the centre took long, ascribing it mainly to the Section 100 administration period.

Dr Phophi Ramathuba (Acting MEC for Social Development) and Daphney Ramakgopa (Social Development, HOD) visit the soon to be opened Seshego Drug Rehabilitation Centre.

She said it is a pity representatives of the department were not invited to accompany the DA during the oversight visit to explain certain issues they highlighted. She added the department, in its budget speech, highlighted and diagnosed several issues at the centre which were then taken up by the DA as if they discovered it. The MEC added things are progressing well after the appointment of a new contractor and the media was told construction is at 90%.

Drickus Fourie, a consultant and quantity surveyor for Masingita, said as the previous contractors took all the keys they first had to get permission to break down doors to identify the extent of work still to be done at the centre, which caused further delay.

Dr Phophi Ramathuba (MEC) at a representation of how the centre and grounds were set out.

Ramathuba said the necessity of a swimming pool for therapeutic use, as well as a gymnasium and activity rooms is non-negotiable as people who are to stay at the centre for extended periods need to be occupied constructively and positively with skills development which will be done in activity rooms.

Journalists were also shown the wards, criticised by the DA because of a lack of privacy. A four-bed ward was shown, as well as several two-bed wards, and Ramathuba explained single rooms are out of the question, as this is a public facility, not a private one.

Facilities are available however, she added, should there be a need to isolate a patient, such as during detoxification. The facilities at the centre also appear adequate for the expected 54 patients to be admitted at a time. Outpatients will also be treated at the centre.

The Seshego Drug Rehabilitation Centre comprises a detoxification area, wards for patients, an outpatient facility, kitchen, multipurpose hall, a gymnasium and swimming pool as well as activity rooms, an administration sector and some staff quarters.

Dr Phophi Ramathuba (MEC) inspects the kitchen equipment at the Seshego Drug Rehabilitation Centre.

According to Ramathuba more than 250 drug dependent patients were referred to other provinces for treatment and advertisement to appoint staff is now a priority. “We need psychologists and trained physiotherapists for the facility.”

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Nelie Erasmus

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