Address by Mr Andries Nel, MP, Deputy Minister for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs at a graduation ceremony of Community Work Programme (CWP) participants held in Matjhabeng Local Municipality, Free State
MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs,
Mr. DM Khoabane; Executive Mayor of Matjhabeng,
Councillor Nkosinjani Speelman;
Ladies and gentlemen;
Community Work Programme participants;
Comrades and friends.
Dumelang, molweni, goeie middag, sanibonani, avuxeni, thobela, ndi masiari, good afternoon.
I want to start by thanking the organisers of this event for recognising the importance of culture in our national life, and the central role that it should play in the work of a democratic developmental state.
We understood this during the struggle against apartheid. Cultural work played an important role in all four pillars of our struggle angainst aoartheid: mass mobilisation, armed struggle, underground and international solidarity and isolation of the regime.
Many argue that the Amandla Cultural Ensemble could accomplish more in mobilising international solidarity through an hour long performance than an entire three day conference could.
We honour the work and contribution of the many cultural activists like Bra Willie Kgositsile, Hugh Masekela, Mirriam Makeba, Jonas Gwangwa, Dumile Feni, and Thami Mnyele.
Artists help us answer the question who we are, but equally, who we can be.
For us to become the nation we want to be - united in diversity, we must take seriously the challenge of unity, renewal, and jobs.
Building a united, non-racial, non-sexist, non-sexist, democratic, prosperous and just South Africa requires us to deal with poverty, unemployment, inequality. Equally, dealing with these challenges requires unity and common purpose.
StatsSA released the latest unemployment figures on this week. They are shocking. Unemployment now stands at 27.7 percent. This means that one in three South Africans is unemployed. Youth unemployment is even higher at 53.7 percent.
These challenges are particularly acute in Matjhabeng where the economy only grows at 0.13 percent per year, where mining and related industries are in decline, and “zama-zama” illegal mining is prevalent. These grim economic realities lead to crime, gangsterism, and substance abuse.
We must work together as national, provincial, and local government, with business, labour and civil society to grow the economy of Matjhabeng. We must concentrate on those sectors that create the most jobs: agriculture, tourism and mining.
We must rally around the economic stimulus and recovery plan. announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa.
The plan has four broad parts:
- Firstly, implementation of growth enhancing economic reforms.
- Secondly, reprioritisation of public spending to support job creation.
- Thirdly, the establishment of an Infrastructure Fund. R400bn
- Fourthly, addressing urgent and pressing matters in education and health.
- Fifthly, investing in municipal social infrastructure improvement.
We must implement this plan with urgency. But we know that many need immediate relief. This is were the Community Work Programme (CWP) and other public employment programmes play an important role.
The CWP is aimed at addressing the triple challenges faced by the country: poverty, inequality and unemployment.
Participants are recruited from poor households into the programme to do useful work for two days a week earning a stipend of R 92.00 per day.
Currently the CWP has recruited 303 820 participants into the programme.
Some of the useful work includes establishment of food gardens, filling potholes, support to Early Childhood Development and Home Based Care Centres.
These programmes promote social cohesion. They help us combat the terribly high levels of gender based violence in our society.
President Ramaphosa has convened a two day national Summit on Gender Based Violence that started yesterday.
Studies by the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation have shown that the presence of CWP sites in communities such as Oragange Farm have brought down gender based violence significantly.
As we prepare for Sixteen Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence from 25 November to 10 December let us redouble the efforts of CWP to combat gender based violence.
Today is a wonderful occasion. It is an honour to be part of it and to celebrate and congratulate all the successful Community Work Programme participants who have just graduated with a Grade R
Their hard work and perseverance has resulted in them being called graduates today.
These participants provided support to disadvantaged schools where the CWP participants clean the classrooms and assist in teaching when the need arises.
Some of the participants have matric, therefore a partnership was established with the University of North West to train them in the Grade R Teaching Diploma.
This is important because South Africa needs educated citizens to contribute in addressing poverty, inequality and unemployment.
We must read, and read and read and study, and study, and study. In todays rapidly changing world learning must be life long activity.
President Ramaphosa said recently at the launch of the Youth Employment Service:
“All the successful people took the time to read. I now read 30 books a year...Those who listen often come back to me and say Mr President, you have encouraged me to read. I have a cousin who reads a book a week.”
“If you want to be successful, read. Even when you go to the loo to do the number two, take a book and then wash your hands after that. Don’t wash the book.”
But learning is not only about reading books. Our minds and our hands must act together. We need artisans and technicians and we must accord them the respect they deserve and receive in countries like Germany and Japan.
We must work together to ensure that the income, experience, and training that participants receive through CWP can be transformed into opportunities to start businesses and create employment for others.
The Mayor challenged me earlier during his speech. I want to return the favour and ask the Mayor whether it is possible for the municipality to procure services such as catering, cleaning, maintenance, etc from cooperatives formed by CWP participants.
Sixteen of these participants have successfully completed the three-year Grade R Diploma, two of which came from the Free State graduated on the 5 April 2018 at the Tlokwe campus of the North West University.
Today we are excited to announce that we have an additional 7 CWP participants from the Free State who graduated on 6 September 2018. To date, we have 9 CWP participants who have graduated in the province of the Free State.
We as a Department are very proud of you because you have been faced with very serious socio-economic hardships coming from disadvantaged families, faced with unemployment or under employment.
You are an inspiration and role models for the CWP participants. We are encouraged that indeed, it is possible through hard to change your circumstance.
One of the CWP participants from Nala Municipality was unemployed and joined the CWP in 2012. Due to her hard work, she was promoted to be a Supervisor for two months then became an Administrator in the Programme.
The CWP offered her an opportunity to train as a Grade R Teacher at the Northwest University. I quote from her:
“Myself and other 8 members of our Programme were enrolled to have a Diploma in Grade R Teaching for 3 years and to us was a great honour because we could not afford this opportunity.”
In conclusion, we would like to congratulate the 16 successful graduates who have finished the course in record time. Well done for all the hard work in the midst of challenging situations.
We wish you all the best for the future. We undertake to work with the Department of Education to make t they know that there are very well qualified and motivated teachers who have through perseverance overcome tremendous obstacles. We
I will request all the graduates to rise up as I call your names, for the issuing of your certificates.
I am glad to announce that 9 of those participants are celebrated today. Their names are:
1. Mamokete Maseng
2. Mantaoleng Violet Motsi
3. Dirontsho Sophia Tladi
4. Nombulelo Selina Windvoel
5. Thembisile Magqaza
6. Notiti Malashe
7. Molatodi Mojaki
8. Constance Tsoute
9. Nomsa Martha Hanise
Congratulations once more and may we give them all a round of applause.
I thank you.