Steel magnate donates R100m towards Mandela hospital

2014-03-20 18:01

What started as a dream for former president Nelson Mandela five years ago became reality today.

Ground was broken at the Wits University in Parktown, marking the beginning of construction of the R1 billion Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital, which will be the fourth paediatric hospital in Africa.

Raising funds for this massive project has not been easy, said CEO of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital Trust Sibongile Mkhabela, “but it was worth it”.

Mkhabela said R570 million of the R1 billion needed to build and furnish the hospital has been raised so far and it was thanks to many South Africans and international companies operating locally, which dug deep into their pockets.

Among the big donors was steel mogul Eric Samson, who donated R100 million towards building and equipping the 200-bed facility.

Mkhabela recalled the day Samson surprised a meeting of which he was part when he said he would be forking out R100 million without even cringing.

“We were all stunned,” she said.

Mkhabela said while Samson was the biggest local donor, Bill and Melinda Gates donated the same amount. But, she said, 60% of the money raised so far has come from South Africa.

“Usually when one thinks of fund raising we think about international donors, but this time around South Africa came to the party. We are grateful to everybody who contributed because without them, Tata Mandela’s dream wouldn’t have become a reality,” she said.

The construction of the hospital is expected to be completed in 2016. Once operational, it will specialise in cancer, heart defects, kidney failure, complex birth defects and general paediatric surgery, serving children from across Southern Africa.

Other big donors include the Oppenheimer Foundation, which donated R12 million, the Motsepe Foundation, which donated R7 million and Anglo Gold, which contributed R5 million.

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