Programme Director: Ms Redi Tlhabi
MEC for Gauteng Education: Mr. Panyaza Lesufi
Deputy Chairman of Anglo American, South Africa, Mr Norman Mbazima
Anglo American Executives
Representatives of all State Departments
School Principal: Ms Edith Mamosebo
Representatives of Organised Labour
Teachers and Learners
SGB and all Parents
Fellow South Africans
At the outset, Programme Director, I must say South Africa is in mourning. Therefore, it will be remiss of me not take this opportunity to pay tribute to the ‘Mother of the Nation’, the late Mama Winnie Nomzamo Madikizela-Mandela.
uMama Winnie was one of us. She was born in the apartheid South Africa, black and poor. Yet, she did not allow the circumstances of her birth to determine her future. Earlier on in her life she exhibited characteristics of a born leader. As a result, she earned her own right to be called a Struggle stalwart alongside such great leaders such as Mama Charlotte Maxeke and others. She needed no invitation to speak truth to power. She needed no permission to fight against the apartheid regime – rightly described by the United Nations as, “a crime against humanity.”
There is a lot to say about this gallant and feisty South African woman. Programme Director, allow to just say to umam’ uWinnie, we promise never to retreat, we will solider on sparing neither strength nor courage on the march towards the total emancipation of women, and eradication of poverty. Mama Winnie – your legacy lives on. We will never fail your people. Rest in Power Qhawekazi!!!
Programme Director, it is my singular honour and privilege to deliver a keynote address in this important function, namely the official launch of this initiative dubbed, The Anglo American South Africa Education Programme to improve learning and teaching outcomes in schools located in areas where Anglo American’s operates.
The Programme we are launching today is part of the Anglo American Sustainability Strategy. At the heart of it, is the company’s commitment to being an active corporate citizen that engages with the real issues and challenges facing South Africa. This ground-breaking initiative, has been developed in partnership with the Department of Basic Education, and complements the Department’s Action Plan 2019—Towards the Realisation of Schooling 2030. The Action Plan 2019, details strategies that aim to improve the performance of South Africa’s schooling system.
Similarly, this programme aligns with Anglo American’s purpose, which is to Re-imagine mining to improve people’s lives. I must emphasise that any investment in the public schooling system, is a wise move, as it impacts directly on the majority of our school-going children. Of the 25 000 schools in South Africa with an enrolment of over 12 million learners, private schools relative to many countries remains numerically few.
Through the Education Programme, Anglo American strives to make a real difference today, so that South Africa’s future is brighter and more prosperous. This five-year programme (2018-2022), will focus on Early Childhood Learning and a “Whole School” systemic approach for primary and secondary schools – to improve learners’ educational outcomes.
The programme will target 100 Early Childhood Development (ECD) sites and a “Whole School” systemic approach for 100 selected primary and secondary schools. To reach the five-year programme goals and track progress, ongoing monitoring and evaluation systems have been embedded in the programme from the start.
The programme is launched amidst what the commentariat refer to as the Ramaphoria in the epoch of the “a new dawn”, as captured succinctly by His Excellency, President Cyril Ramaphosa in his maiden State of the Nation Address. As a nation we are called upon to seize this window of opportunity, and thus put behind us, “the era of discord, disunity and disillusionment.”
Programme Director, we must steadfastly refuse for our “new dawn” to be turned by faultfinders and doomsayers into a false dawn. We must remain resolute that public schooling sector is for public good. We are the custodians of section 29 of the South African Constitution, which states that “(1) Everyone has the right – (a) to a basic education, including adult basic education; and (b) to further education, which the state, through reasonable measures, must make progressively available and accessible.”
We must walk tall, assured that the political stability achieved in our Republic in recent times, heralds a new day, and a new spirit of hope pervades the air, surely a new dawn is upon us.
This partnership, gives meaning to our contention that, “education is indeed a societal issue.”
As President Ramaphosa said, we must begin to view the mining industry as, “a sunrise sector”. He told Parliament during his Question and Answer session that: “I look at it (mining) as a sunrise industry. An industry that can create jobs, stimulate industrial productivity, and promote social development”.
Together with our social partners, we must do more for the children of mining communities in particular, and children of South Africa in general. It is therefore gratifying that one of the pillars of the strategy is to create thriving communities close to the Anglo American South Africa operations, with education as a key building block.
Conversely, it is par for the course that the corporate sector shall invest in communities in which they operate. We appeal to other corporates to increase their investment in the basic education sector.
It is therefore pleasing that today’s handover occurs the same year  that marks the centenary of the esteemed Member of the Order of Mapungubwe, Nobel Peace Laureate, Isithwalandwe, Seaparankwe, Tata Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, affectionately known by his clan name Madiba. Inevitable, we, and peoples of the world regard Madiba, “as one of the greatest sons of Africa to ever walk on planet earth.”
President Cyril Ramaphosa in his State of the Nation Address referred to Madiba as, “one of the most remarkable leaders this country and this continent – and indeed, the world – has known.”
As we know, Madiba dedicated himself towards the realisation of a noble goal, that of a non-racial, non-sexist, democratic, and prosperous South Africa. He emptied himself for the betterment of the conditions of the oppressed throughout the globe.
As we confront the challenges of the present, we continue to draw lessons and inspiration from his life. We shall use this historic occasion to unite, rebuild and renew the basic education sector, so that it can leapfrog into the 4th Industrial Revolution.
Madiba dedicated his life to the betterment of the children of South Africa. In his retirement, he built more state-of-the-art schools than he did while President of the Republic of South Africa. He valued education, believing that it was the greatest engine of personal development. He said:
“A good head and good heart are always a formidable combination. But when you add to that a literate tongue and a pen, then you have something very special”.
Today, we are called upon to emulate the example set by Madiba to work for the people without any expectation of glory or monetary reward. Madiba was truly a great son of the African soil, and a true servant of the people. We remain indebted to his abiding vision for a society, where no person is exploited, oppressed or despised by another. Madiba’s life set an example that “A life well lived, is to be of service to humanity.” Madiba gave us life's greatest treasures: love, values, education, principles and a name that was worth its weight in gold.
Programme Director, it is Government’s apex priority to ensure that public schooling thrives in this country. In terms of infrastructure development, we are keen to provide state-of-the-art learning facilities, which will optimise the chances of success for every South African learner.
On our as Government, we are also acutely aware that to improve the overall picture of basic education, we must pay particular attention to physical infrastructure. We know that research has concluded that learners studying in poorly designed schools, “felt that they were a reflection of their school – undervalued, worthless, dirty and uncared for.” Many pieces of educational research show the link between low self-esteem and under-achievement, occasioned in part by poor infrastructure. However, we are acutely aware that we can’t achieve this alone; hence the call to all social partners to work with us to address this challenge.
It is therefore heartening that Anglo American, through this programme, intends to touch the lives of hundreds of our children. We are very happy that this wonderful partnership programme (2018-2022) will focus on Early Childhood Development and a “Whole School” systemic approach for primary and secondary schools – to improve learners’ educational outcomes. We are thrilled in that, part of the investment is in the Early Childhood Development, which provides a solid foundation for schooling – thus ensuring success in higher grades.
Last month, I had the privilege of visiting the Ministry of Education in Finland – one of the best education systems in the world. Their deliberate focus on early grades is well-documented; hence their learners are empowered at an early stage to navigate flawlessly in their later educational paths and lives.
Programme Director, we must bear in mind that basic education is a prerequisite for tackling poverty, and promoting short- and long-term economic growth. No country has achieved continuous and rapid economic growth, without at least 40% of adults being able to read and write (GCE, 2010).
At an individual level, a person’s earnings increase with each additional year of schooling they receive. This is especially true for additional years of higher education. Thus, people who are educated are able to earn more and support their families, which helps economies to grow faster, and poverty rates to decline.
At a social level, basic education restores one’s dignity. It moves learners from the conditions of insecurity to an atmosphere where their dignity is respected. The long-term benefits of what we are doing, include the raising of well-adjusted and fully-participating adults for a future prosperity of South Africa.
To Anglo American Board and Executives and the mining communities, we are proud of your efforts and progress to date. We know you will not fail the nation.
I thank you.