President of the Republic Hon. Mr. Cyril Ramaphosa
Minsters and Deputy Ministers present
Captains of Industry
Ladies and Gentlemen
We thank the Honourable President for this initiative. The issue of decent sanitation for all our school going children is a matter of dignity and human rights.
We are saddened that due to the backlogs and bottlenecks in the system two of our learners have had to die as a result of this. Mr. President, we have been seized with this matter of providing decent sanitation since this Government introduced the Accelerated Schools Infrastructure Delivery Initiative (ASIDI) in 2011. The objective of ASIDI is to eradicate the Basic Safety Norms backlog in schools without water, sanitation and electricity and to replace those schools constructed from inappropriate materials (mud, plankie, asbestos).
To this end, the ASIDI programme has delivered 202 state-of-the-art schools. A total of 453 schools have received decent sanitation; 666 schools have been provided with water, and 372 schools have been connected to electricity for the first time.
What ASIDI has not done is to address the issue of sanitation where this has been found to be inadequate or unsafe. We focused as per the Treasury rules on schools that had no sanitation whatsoever. We firmly understand that the progress reported has not been enough, hence the President’s intervention of which we welcome. It must also be noted that the bulk of infrastructure budget is located in the Provincial Education departments. There is no need to bore with the details of lack of inter-governmental coordination in this regard. I can only say we could have done better.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the launch of Sanitation Appropriate for Education (SAFE) Initiative is indeed an affirmation that basic education remains a priority even under this new administration. The purpose of the campaign is to provide safe sanitation facilities for all our learners and, in the process, help to restore their dignity.
As you are all well aware, we are celebrating, President Nelson Mandela’s and uMama uNontsikelelo Albertina Sisulu’s centenary and legacies. One of the best ways we can honour these giants of our time is through our corporate social investment in the dignified sanitation for the most vulnerable in our society – school going children. We thank all of you for your support today and beyond.
Introduction of the President of the Republic Hon. Mr. Cyril Ramaphosa
Programme Director; allow me to formally introduce our guest of honour, the President of the Republic, Ntate Cyril Ramaphosa.
President Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa was born on 17 November 1952 in Johannesburg.
President Ramaphosa holds a law degree from the University of South Africa. He has received several honorary doctorates from local and international universities. He received the Olof Palme prize in Stockholm in 1987.
The President was detained in 1974 for organising pro-Frelimo rallies that were held to celebrate the independence of Mozambique. He was detained for the second time in 1976 following the Soweto student uprising.
He became the first general secretary of the National Union of Mineworkers in 1982. In 1991, he was elected African National Congress (ANC) Secretary General and subsequently became head of the ANC team that negotiated the transition to democracy.
Following the country’s first democratic elections in 1994, he was elected chairperson of the Constitutional Assembly, which wrote South Africa's new democratic constitution.
He moved into the private sector in 1996, and in 2001 founded Shanduka Group, a diversified investment holding company. He resigned from Shanduka in 2012 following his appointment as Deputy President of South Africa.
In December 2012, he was elected Deputy President of the ruling African National Congress (ANC).
In December 2017, he was elected as the President at the ANC’s 54th Elective Conference.
On the 15th February 2018, he was sworn in as the fifth democratically elected President of the Republic.
Ladies and Gentlemen, please welcome the son of the soil, the Honourable President of the Republic, Mr. Cyril Ramaphosa.
I thank you.