George Mazarakis shows off the new equipment SCREEN AFRICA EXCLUSIVE: Pay-TV broadcaster M-Net?s flagship investigative journalism show, Carte Blanche, through its Making a Difference Trust, officially opened the BHP Billiton Paediatric Centre of Excellence on 5 June in Durban.
The ceremony was hosted by Carte Blanche anchors Derek Watts, Bongani Bingwa and Chantal Rutter Dros. This R20m paediatric centre replaces a derelict unit at King Edward VIII Hospital that had medical staff complaining of low morale because of the building conditions. The new building, which is named in tribute to sponsor mining company BHP Billiton, was facilitated by the Carte Blanche Making a Difference Trust. This marks the first time a private entity has given a completely new fully equipped building to the government of South Africa.
The Making a Difference Trust was launched in August 2008 to commemorate 20 years of Carte Blanche on air. George Mazarakis, Carte Blanche''s executive producer, set the goal of raising R20m - a million for every year on air - to support State paediatric units across the country.
"Today, through the generosity of corporate donors and viewers, the Carte Blanche Making a Difference Trust has more than trebled this target," said Mazarakis. "We have raised approximately R83m since the inception of this campaign. This amount excludes donations in materials and services."
In 2010, Mazarakis and Karolina Andropoulos (Carte Blanche Making a Difference Trust patron) were awarded the Support of Philanthropy in the Media Inyathelo Philanthropy Award for their work in equipping paediatric units in hospitals. Dignitaries in attendance at the launch included M-Net CEO Patricia van Rooyen, Dr Olaf Baloyi (CEO of? King Edward VIII Hospital), Xolani Mkwanazi (president of BHP Billiton), KZN Health MEC Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo. South African crooner, Loyiso Bala, sang the anthem and provided entertainment on the day. (Report by Simba Nyamukachi)