Item 505 - Speech by President Nelson Mandela at the opening of the 350th clinic built since South Africa's first democratic election

Identity area

Reference code



Speech by President Nelson Mandela at the opening of the 350th clinic built since South Africa's first democratic election


  • 1997-09-20 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

Transcription of speech made by Mr Mandela

Context area

Name of creator

(18 July 1918-5 December 2013)

Biographical history

Archival history

Migrated from the Nelson Mandela Speeches Database (Sep-2018).

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

ANC Website

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Opening of the 350th clinic since the first democratic election

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


System of arrangement

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Conditions governing reproduction

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

Related descriptions

Notes area



Premier Ramathlodi of the Northern Province;
Members of the National and Provincial Legislatures;
Distinguished Guests;
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am deeply grateful to be invited here today to join you in celebrating this milestone in our long journey towards a better life. When our new government was elected in 1994, we all entered our democracy full of hope and determination to build a new South Africa.

With our freedom won, we faced the challenge of using our limited resources to provide the majority of our people with adequate housing, education and health services. These things are regarded as basic human needs anywhere in the world and yet most of our people had been denied them.

This province was one of the worst affected by the policies of apartheid. It was treated mainly as a source of cheap labour for urban areas; it was neglected and deprived of resources. It was turned into one of the poorest parts of South Africa.

Because there were very few hospitals and clinics, only those with money and who were healthy enough could travel the long distances to get proper medical help. This was the situation of millions of South Africans across the country.

One of the most important steps the government has taken to deal with this crisis in our nation's health was to introduce free universal primary health care. Since April last year, for the first time in our history, basic health-care has become available to everybody without cost.

And to make that health-care easily accessible, to especially the poor, we launched the clinic-building programme so that there would be a clinic within walking distance - five kilometres - of every household.

Primary Health Care uses measures for both prevention and cure, like immunisation, family planning and health education. But in order for these programmes to work we also need to make sure that communities have adequate shelter, employment, sanitation and clean water supply. Poverty and lack of essential services are the greatest threat to our nation's health.

As a nation we have made progress in this regard since 1994. Government's programmes for housing, electrification, school-feeding and water supply are already improving the lives and the health of millions.

But this is only the start. While bulk water supply and electricity have been extended to some areas in Mankweng, and while projects to create new jobs are taking shape, this area, like most others in our country, has much to catch up.

So we all need to work together to speed up the delivery. The government appreciates that people have been patient, and much hard work will still be needed. Our goals will take years to achieve and success requires communities to take active roles in their own upliftment.

It is all of you, through your civics, police forums, co-operatives and other development bodies, who are going to make the difference. But with your co-operation and your creative ideas we can build those classrooms, fix those roads, attract investment for more jobs and light up all our communities with electricity.

The fast-track building of clinics is one way in which government, the private sector and communities are working together for the common goal of improving peoples' lives.

It is because of this partnership that an average of five clinics are now being built each week and we are approaching a total of four hundred new clinics.

It is this spirit of Masakhane that has brought direct access to affordable quality health-care to more than 8.5 million people.

Today we are gathered at the 350th clinic built in South Africa since April 1994. We are amongst a population of 17.000 people from neighbouring villages who can all walk to the clinic. We are in a community that now enjoys mother- and child-care services, family-planning and psychiatric services; who can get treatment for chronic conditions and communicable diseases.

Together with the other clinics in Mankweng, Nobody is an investment in our future. I would like to use this occasion to thank all the nursing staff, the doctors and others who make this clinic and other clinics work. They are truly helping to build our nation.

This achievement is an inspiration as we intensify the building and upgrading of health and educational facilities for may, many more people in this area; in the Northern Province and across our land.

The foundation for a better life has been laid. Forward ever!

Thank you.

Alternative identifier(s)

Access points

Subject access points

Place access points

Name access points

Genre access points

Description control area

Description identifier

Institution identifier

Rules and/or conventions used


Level of detail

Dates of creation revision deletion

Acquisition method: From website ; Source: ANC Website. Accessioned on 04/12/06 by Helen Joannides




Accession area

Related subjects

Related people and organizations

Related genres

Related places