Above and below: An artists impression of the Nelson Mandela Childrens Hospital in Parktown.
Above and below: An artists impression of the Nelson Mandela Childrens Hospital in Parktown.

Johannesburg - More than five months after Madiba’s death, construction has begun at the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital.

The Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital Trust awarded the construction bid to Group Five, which began work in Parktown, Joburg, on Monday.

“This represents a key milestone in our efforts to make Nelson Mandela’s last wish of building a children’s hospital in South Africa a reality,” said Nana Magomola, the deputy chairwoman of the trust.

The trust hopes to have the hospital completed in the first quarter of 2016, after it has raised R1 billion to build and equip the hospital, and train medical professionals.

It has raised more than R570 million so far.

“We still have a long way to go, but we are confident that, with the support of those who share this dream, we will be able to build and present to the public a fitting last legacy of this international icon,” Magomola said.

To help work towards this, the trust announced the appointment of Mary-Jane Morifi, the former executive head of corporate affairs at Anglo American Platinum, on Monday.

“With the capital campaign having passed the halfway mark, Mary-Jane will lead the next phase in the fundraising campaign as we work towards the R1 billion target. We are delighted to welcome Mary-Jane to the team,” said Magomola.

Morifi is also a part-time faculty member of the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership and serves on a number of not-for-profit boards and trusts.

The hospital would work on a referral basis across all its centres of excellence.

The hospital, which will be located adjacent to Wits University’s Medical School in Parktown, will be close to other medical facilities and will allow for paediatric academic teaching access from the Wits Medical School to maximise operational efficiencies and staffing models.

About 150 doctors and 450 paediatric nursing professionals and allied services will be hired to work at the hospital.

The trust is still calling for donations.

To donate towards the building of the hospital, SMS “GIFT” to 40301 (SMSes cost R20 each) or visit www.nelson mandelachildrenshospital.org for more details.

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The Star