It took R1bn in donations to build the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital in Johannesburg, but nine months after its launch party, the world-class facility is not fully open yet and lacks funding to cover operational costs. Built by the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund and owned by a trust established by it, it was envisaged that the hospital would be a state-of-the-art facility for children needing cancer treatment, dialysis or heart operations. It has top-of-the-range equipment, theatres that can broadcast operations to remote locations for training or for communicating with specialists abroad. It looks like a children’s hotel, is decorated with wallpaper inspired by doodles, has free living facilities for 27 families and an in-house radio station. But the hospital has never been part of government’s long-term infrastructure or budgeting plans. It is estimated that it needs half-a-billion rand to cover annual operating expenses, but got R150m from the Treasury for the 2017-18 financ...

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