Cape Town's population grew by 45% in 15 years - Zille

Tammy Petersen, News24

Cape Town - Between the census of 1996 and 2011, the City of Cape Town grew by 45%, Premier Helen Zille said during her State of the Province address on Friday.

"[However], the resources available in real terms have not kept pace," she insisted.

While the statistic seemed incredible, it was a fact, Zille insisted.

"Our health facilities are experiencing a steady rise in patient numbers, with a 2% year-on-year rise in emergency centres.

"Our provincial population is increasing annually in the face of shrinking budgets in real terms."

Over 103 000 babies were born in the province’s facilities last year, and over 170 000 operations were conducted, Zille said.

"As it stands, we are committing over R800m towards health infrastructure over the next three years. Almost 40% of this budget will go towards maintaining our existing facilities to the highest possible standard."

Using limited resources due to budget limitations, the department would strengthen its primary healthcare offerings, she said.

"Higher patient loads at our facilities can cause patient dissatisfaction in some cases, most commonly because of waiting times, and in some cases unrealistic expectations.

"The truth is that our facilities would be under far less pressure if residents began taking greater responsibility for their personal well-being. Over 54% of patients in the provincial public health system have more than two preventable chronic diseases each.

"The inescapable conclusion is that if they looked after their own health, they would not have to be patients at all."

Zille, who faced constant heckling from the opposition ANC, who called her speech "boring", said focusing on preventing disease, a number of projects and initiatives had been launched for people to take responsibility for their lifestyles.