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History of the hospital


Commandant Henry Usher fell in the Pondomisi-Basuto rebellion at the Pitsing Caves on the 10th of April 1881. His comrades in Arms both Blacks and White determined that his name and character should be kept in remembrance and each contributed a days pay which formed the nucleus of the fund to which this institution owes its existence.

The hospital opened in Kokstad in 1897. Piped water was instituted in 1902, followed by gas heating in 1908. On the 8th of August 1908 the hospital was gutted by fire. It was rebuilt with other improvements such as Nurses Quarters and the improvements were finalized in 1922. The Dan Pienaar Maternity wing was added in 1948. On the 2nd of April 1963 the Honourable J.N. Malan, Administrator of the Province of the Cape of Good Hope cut the ribbon commemorating the extensions in the form of main building.

Other building took place with regard to X-ray Department, CSSD, Security, enclosing ward verandas, Laboratory, Theatre, ablution block extensions to the wards and the workshops over the years. In 1995 J-ward was gutted by fire and was rebuilt. From 1997 -2004 further improvements were witnessed, the expansion of CSSD, additions to the surgical block change rooms, renovation of the Main Kitchen, Construction of the new OPD and Casualty Block, Park homes and Houses for Doctors, Pharmacists, OTs and Radiographers.

Through the years various bequests and donations were given to the continuation of the Hospital. Three bronzes plaques commemorating donations from the 1st South African Mounted Riflemen, formerly called the Cape Mounted Riflemen, 500 pounds from Morris Barnard on the 14th May 1947, 250 pounds from the late Allister James Mc Naughton on the 20th of October 1942.

Details of Medical Superintendents are sketchy but Dr Arthur J. Thornton who died on the 21st of February 1920 is recorded as the 1st Medical Superintendent for more than 20 years. Dr William Adams Muir was the Medical Superintendent from 1949 to 1967 and he was followed by Dr Jack Lewis from 1967 to 1984. Dr Hill took over from 1985 until December 1994. Dr Robert Wurmuth took over from 1995 to March 2001.

Mr Mosemege from Limpopo was the 1st Black Hospital Manager and only stayed for 1 year. On the 1st of July 2005 the Hospital made a ground breaking history when appointing Miss Nolindela Mate as the first black female Hospital Manager. Miss Mate retired on the 30th November 2009 and was followed by Mrs Ntombifikile Thekiso who acted from 21 September 2009 and was formally appointed in April 2010 as the CEO of the institution.

The Hospital came under the Natal Provincial Administration in 1978 from the Cape of Good Hope.



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