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Hospital pledge as South Africa celebrates Mandela centenary

The De Beers Group has launched a pledge scheme as part of the centenary celebrations for this year’s Mandela Day – and employees are out and about today helping local community organisations.

Employees of De Beers Consolidated Mines (DBCM), the Group’s operation in South Africa, have been invited to make a pledge to contribute R100 each to the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital. The pledge is in honour of Nelson Mandela’s 100 years – this year he would have been 100 years old on 18 July.

Funds will go to the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital, which was built to assist with the shortfall of specialised paediatric health services in South Africa and in Sub-Saharan Africa. The 200-bed hospital welcomed its first patient last year and has already treated more than 250 children.

Most of the money raised by DBCM employees is expected to be spent on surgical equipment for the hospital’s Neurosurgical Theatre.

Phillip Barton, CEO of DBCM, said: “When thinking about an initiative to support in honour of Madiba, we were inspired by the love and devotion he had for the children of South Africa. He once said there could be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treated its children. At De Beers, we want to reflect the values Madiba stood for.”

In 2005, Nelson Mandela asked his foundation to explore the status of paediatric care in the country. The research discovered that there was only one children’s hospital in South Africa and only four in the African continent, catering for a population of more than half a billion children.

For today’s Mandela Day celebrations, employees at the company’s two mines in South Africa, Venetia and Voorspoed, are undertaking a range of activities in local communities.

The aim for employee and contractor volunteers from Venetia mine is to paint and upgrade the Madimbo Siawoadza Community Crèche in Musina, and next week they plan to do the same at the Helena Franz Hospital in Blouberg.

At Voorspoed, employees are helping to renovate the Tumahole Self Help Association of Disabled premises and the Lentswe Community Radio Station, both in Parys. They are taking items to the Diketso Spiritual Centre and cleaning and repairing an orphanage at Tswelopele, both in Kroonstad.

In Kimberley, employees’ to-do list includes painting a school library and cleaning a school yard, decorating a crèche and giving food packs to the children, and donating a gas stove and kitchen utensils to Reach for a Dream, a charity supporting children with life-threatening illnesses.

Nelson Mandela – known affectionately as Madiba - who died on 5 December 2013, aged 95, was South Africa’s first black president (serving from 1994 to 1999) and probably the world’s most highly respected leader. The first Mandela Day was celebrated in 2009.

He and De Beers had strong links. He recognised the importance of the diamond industry to South Africa and praised De Beers as a good corporate citizen.

In particular, he commended the leadership and imagination shown by De Beers and the National Union of Mineworkers in their joint fight against AIDS. He believed De Beers was “a fine example of responsible business making a real and lasting contribution to the people in the countries and communities where it operates”.

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