Construction has begun on a R25-million healthcare centre in Westbury, a key development node on the Perth-Empire Corridor, one of the City of Joburg’s targeted Corridors of Freedom.

Joburg Executive Mayor Parks Tau gets construction on the new Westbury Clinic under wayJoburg Executive Mayor Parks Tau gets construction on the new Westbury Clinic under way. (Photo: development of the state-of-the-art new clinic was unveiled by Joburg Executive Mayor Parks Tau at a sod-turning ceremony in the west Johannesburg suburb on Tuesday, 31 March.

Speaking to residents at the ceremony, Mayor Tau said: “Over the course of the next few months you will witness the development of a clinic that is significantly different to the one we have demolished.

“This comprehensive redevelopment will be one of the City’s model clinics, with several features, including 80 consultation rooms, dedicated services such as ante- and pre-natal care, testing and counselling services and health screening.”

The Mayor said Westbury was a critical development node as part of the Corridors of Freedom initiative, a bold plan for the spatial redesign of the city’s transport arteries, complemented by mixed-use developments with high-density accommodation and opportunities for education, leisure and recreation.

“These Corridors of Freedom will bring people and opportunities closer to one another, overcoming the legacy of mono-functional townships that are overcrowded and under-serviced. By reversing the historical status quo, where people were segregated by design, we will begin to create better communities,” said Mayor Tau.

Community-based enterprises would also be involved in the construction of the clinic.

“During the next financial year, we have allocated R3-billion to community-based contracts through the Jozi@Work programme. These contracts will essentially create a partnership between the City and the community that will build and enable our people to use their skills, potential and capacities, and for entrepreneurs to grow their enterprises so they can move from being only recipients of local services to major producers.”

The Mayor stressed the importance of providing healthcare access and information to reduce “burdening diseases such as hypertension and diabetes”, adding that the City would soon roll out projects aimed at raising awareness of the dangers of lifestyle diseases.

“By moving beyond the task of building clinics and providing healthcare services through promoting better lifestyle choices, we as a City will ultimately deliver a higher life expectancy and improved quality of life, which is in line with our 2040 Growth and Development Strategy.”

Margaret Barkley, long-time resident and chairperson of the Westbury Residents’ Committee, said the new clinic would change the lives of the whole community. “Our clinic was terribly overcrowded but this new clinic is going to be worth the wait. It’s going to change all our lives and will be used for many generations to come,” she said.

The new clinic is expected to open its doors early next year.