Johannesburg - Former president Nelson Mandela went out to to find donors and raise money for the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital and never approached South Africa’s Treasury for funding, said retired deputy chief justice Dikgang Moseneke on Friday.
Mandela’s vision for children’s healthcare, the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital situated in Parktown, north of Johannesburg, was launched on Friday.
Moseneke, a confidant of the late statesman, said Mandela would have said “thank you” to everyone if he was alive.
“This hospital reminds us there is a place for honesty, good governance and a place for giving and not taking,” said Moseneke.
“Mandela was for giving and more giving … he never said Dikgang, lets get money from the Treasury, he never did that … instead he would leave to visit the East, which he said had too much money, and would come back with cheques in the pockets of his jacket.
“That is our Mandela and his way of doing things. He never took a cent of the money for himself. As a person very close to him I think I can say thank you to everyone on behalf of him.”
At least $800 million was finally raised to fund construction and equipment of the hospital, from big donors to school children raising funds through their piggy banks.
Construction started in 2014, with local and international partners getting on board. The University of Witwatersrand provided the land for the hospital.
The world class hospital with state-of-the-art equipment will offer specialised paediatric care on a referral basis, including cardiology, oncology and paediatric surgery. It will also offer training to specialists.
Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund CEO Sibongile Mkhabela said the hospital would also cover the rest of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region, and that no child would be turned away because parents cannot afford to pay.
A small emergency unit would be set up and help in stabilising patients before transferal to nearby hospitals. The state of the art of hospital will receive its first patient early next year.
Former fist lady Zanele Mbeki and Mandela’s widow Graça Machel were among the dignitaries that attended the launch.