Item 584 - Speech by President Nelson Mandela at the opening of the Embo Community Health Care Centre

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Speech by President Nelson Mandela at the opening of the Embo Community Health Care Centre


  • 1998-05-29 (Creation)

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Transcription of speech made by Mr Mandela

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(18 July 1918-5 December 2013)

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

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ANC Website

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Opening of the Embo Community Health Care Centre

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  • English

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Your Majesty, King Goodwill Zwelithini;
Premier Ngubane;
Cabinet Ministers;
Members of the Provincial Executive and Legislature;
Members of the Embo Community;
Distinguished guests.

It is a great pleasure to return to Embo. I have come to see with my own eyes what has been achieved by a community that did not wait for government to bring improvements.

When I visited Embo in 1995, we discussed the serious lack of health facilities. I learn that people had to go more than 100 kilometres to Prince Mshiyeni Memorial Hospital for treatment. I heard how many people grew more ill and even succumbed to illness because of this distance and lack of money for transport. We resolved then that we would tackle the problem head on.

Today, we meet again, on the hill where Tilongo and Sikhukhukhu united to join Bambatha.

Today we are here to witness a new kind of unity amongst our people, a partnership between government, South African Breweries, the Embo Masakhane Development Committee and the community.

Today, the Embo Community Health Centre stands as a proud landmark shoulder to shoulder with the Ngilanyoni and Nhlazuka Mountains.

The patients who are already visiting the centre are only the first of many, many people who will benefit from the health care it brings.

This facility, built under the leadership of Amakhosi aseMbo, will serve all the people of this region, from all tribal areas around it, irrespective of political affiliation.

The population of more than a quarter of a million of Umbumbulu and surroundings have for years suffered from inadequate health facilities. All of them must find comfort here. All must feel welcome. Deliveries will take place here. The children of Embo will be born here in Embo; and the children of Umbumbulu will be born here in Umbumbulu!

The building of this clinic was a part of our national effort to bring health services to the people. Five hundred new clinics have been built since 1994 bringing access to health care for five million people. Over 130 of those are in KwaZulu-Natal. Never have so many clinics been built within such a short space of time in both urban and rural areas.

Government could not have achieved this on its own. It is a product of the spirit of Masakhane.

The building of this health centre has shown what can be achieved when we work together. It shows us that development, skills training and job opportunities walk hand-in-hand with peace and stability. Without peace, stability and respect for the law there can be no development.

It is with great sadness that I have learnt of murders taking place in Umbumbulu, Margate, KwaMaphumulo and other areas over the past few months.

I make a plea to all Amakhosi and political leaders to work together to create peace. The leadership of KwaZulu-Natal can take great pride in the progress they have brought together for peace. Let us not allow political violence to return to this province.

I want to convey my unequivocal support for the peace initiatives in this province. I urge Amakhosi to utilise their influence to strengthen peace. I urge Amakhosi to avoid being used or drawn into the political contest.

I would also like to take this opportunity to encourage the Premier, Dr Ben Ngubane, the Minister of Economic Affairs, Jacob Zuma; and their colleagues to speed up the peace process. No opportunity should be left for the forces of violence to derail the process. Let us not allow our people to be discouraged by those who seek to take us back to war talk and political intolerance.

This peace process has the support and blessings of both my leaders; President Thabo Mbeki of the ANC and President Mangosuthu Buthelezi of the IFP. The working relationship between the IFP and the ANC in government remains remarkable at both national and provincial levels. Let us therefore not send one message at leadership level and another one at a grassroot level.

I want the people of KwaZulu-Natal to heed the advice and the call for Peace made on numerous occasions by His Majesty King Zwelithini. For, he has made this call for people of KwaZulu to respect each other, tolerate each others views and to fight together against our common enemies which are poverty, unemployment, ignorance, disease and other ills. Let us make the vision of the Founder of Zulu Nation a proud reality in our times. Let us commit ourselves to embrace Peace and work for social upliftment of our people. And to you, your Majesty, we thank you for your unwavering leadership.

But today we are here to celebrate. We celebrate because development has begun to flow to Mbumbulu. Delivery is occurring here as it is in other rural areas, amongst our people who were neglected for so many years by the former government. As you are celebrating the expansion of Primary Health Care today, others across the country have reason to celebrate the connection of electricity; or telephone services; clean water supplies or improvements to their roads.

Of course, even as we rejoice, we know this is only the start of a task that will take us many years. But the foundations have been laid and today we have seen how we can build when we join hands.

So we must pay tribute to all those who have made this project a resounding success: - Amakhosi; the Embo Masakhane Development Committee and the community.

We pay tribute to Mr. Meyer Kahn, Mr. Dunbar Buckhall and the entire South African Breweries. Without their massive financial support of over three million rands this health centre would still be a dream in the minds of the Embo Community. Just as important is SAB's spirit of goodwill that has led them to help improve the lives of many communities, in projects such as Mawele High School in Msinga and others in this province as well as many other provinces.

Lastly I must thank the province and the department of health for ensuring that this facility its completed.

As this clinic was built, so should it be officially opened, as a collective effort it is therefore right that I should be joined in this ceremony by representatives of all the partners in this project: Amakhosi; the Development Committee; and government at national and provincial level. In particular, I ask Mr. Laurie van der Watt of the South African Breweries to join me in unveiling the plaque to mark he opening of the Embo Community Health Centre.

Mkhize, Khabazela Kamavovo Gcwabe Kazihlandla, Ngunezi!!!!

I thank you.

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Acquisition method: From website ; Source: ANC Website. Accessioned on 07/12/06 by Helen Joannides




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