Medicalised FGM -- performed using tools like these -- is defended by practitioners and communities alike as a "safe" way to preserve the custom, despite risks to the victim's physical, psychological and sexual health

The people of the Umtubatuba community, located in KwaZulu-Natal witnessed the sod-turning ceremony on Sunday of the long-awaited construction of a new community health center.

The ceremony - attended by KwaZulu-Natal Premier Nomusa Dube-Ncube, Health MEC Nomagugu Simelane and UMkhanyakude District Municipality Mayor Siphile Mdaka - was held at the site for the construction of the Mtubatuba Community Health Centre (CHC).

The CHC will provide various health services, marking a crucial move to improve healthcare access for the people of Umtubatuba. The health center is being created to reduce the travel time of people to access medical care. It will not only save time but also money on long journeys.

During the event, Dube-Ncube announced that the construction process would provide jobs to more than 300 people. However, the premier urged the officials to not hire employees based on their political affiliation or membership.

"We also discourage community members who demand that only local professional people must be employed in health facilities. Employment of professionals in these facilities need to be done on merit – irrespective of where the health professionals hail from," Dube-Ncube said, SA News reported.

The Premier introduced the contractor responsible for building the health center and also gave 10 vehicles to Community Policing Forums (CPFs) in Umkhanyakude District Municipality. These 10 cars are among those 85 vehicles, unveiled during the distribution of tools of the trade to the community crime-fighting structure in Durban earlier this month.

Simelane also spoke during the event and stressed that access to quality healthcare is a basic human right, adding that just like urban areas, even rural areas are entitled to get the same quality of healthcare facilities.

The MEC also guaranteed that the local community would be given priority in hiring people to work on constructing the facility. The Department of Health noted that the construction of the health center should be completed within the next three years.

Once the center is completed, it will serve as one one-stop destination for disease screenings, medication collection, dental and optometric consultations, TB and cancer screenings, alongside specialized services for male health.

Aside from this, the facility will also provide free circumcision services alongside access to mobility aids including wheelchairs and crutches.

Earlier this year, South Africa received a multimillion-dollar worth of health equipment as a donation from the German Development Bank (KfW).