Honourable Minister Sbu Ndebele
Ladies and gentlemen,
Unity and peace are the pillars of any nation. Thus there is a need always for awareness-raising campaigns. One of these is the Torch of Peace that is hosted by government departments as it orbits from province to province like planets of hope around the sun. Indeed we’re honoured therefore to receive the symbolic Torch from Minister Ndebele.
We thank Transport for deploying resources tirelessly to improve safety on our roads, working together with our people without whom our land will know no peace.
As South Africans, regardless of race, gender or class, united in our diversity, we have used the Torch of Peace consistently to raise issues of concern affecting us as a people.
We have committed to protecting lives by ending all forms of violence and crime and working together to build a caring society. The Torch of Peace therefore speaks to our resolve to work for the physical safety of learners and educators.
Our overall message for the campaign, working closely with Provincial Departments of Education, is: “Education lighting the torch to create safe and caring schools: Don’t look away – act against violence in schools”.
The Torch of Peace effort is our contribution to making the 16 Days of Activism an all year campaign over and above the dedicated 16 days focus on the protection and promotion of the rights of women and children.
The Torch of Peace this year assumes a new and special dimension. The major highlight of 2012 is the ruling party’s 100 Years of Selfless Struggle whose symbols include the Centenary Torch, under the theme – “Unity in Diversity”. It is destined to travel from province to province highlighting the role of various communities and individuals in the struggle, drawing attention, among others, to the fight against crime.
A common thread to these campaigns is the power of the people. This has been shown by the 70.2% pass rate we achieved for the 2011 matric exams reflecting how much we can do when we work together in unity.
That is why we once more appeal to all to raise a hand for education. Let’s make it a societal issue. In 2012, we will use the Torch to drive the Safe School Campaign in collaboration with the Police. It is a partnership making school safety a shared responsibility.
We will encourage provinces to promote school safety to sensitise communities, urging people to support schools in the fight against violence and crime.
The 2012 campaign will be dedicated to the memory of all learners who have lost their lives in fatal accidents. Together we can and must do more to promote responsible road behaviour on the part of drivers, passengers and pedestrians.
We will pass-on the Torch of Peace to the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development in March 2012 as part of the commemoration of Human Rights Day.
Lastly, I would like to thank all our people for supporting selflessly our efforts in the development of patriotic and well-rounded citizens. I invite all to join us in the noble quest to create safe and functional schools. It is only through active participation of all citizens that we can succeed.
I thank you.