President of the Republic Hon. Mr. Cyril Ramaphosa
Minsters and Deputy Ministers present
Mayor of Capricorn Municipality
Bishop Barnabas Lekganyane and all ZZC Leadership
SGB Chairperson and Members
Parents and Learners
Ladies and Gentlemen
Mr. President, in February of 2018, in your first State of the Nation Address (SONA) you stood before the august House of our Parliament and made a vow to work for the people. You unequivocally said that we must, ‘Send you’ to all the corners of the country to help our people to reimagine a South Africa we envisaged back in the days of our innocence. You said in your own words: ‘Thuma Mina. Send me.’
In the spirit of ‘Thuma Mina’ you have galvanised a broad spectrum of society to believe again in a dream of a Better life for All.
In this spirit, Mr. President, we have be criss-crossing the country encouraging our young people to complete their matric. Our programme is called the Second Chance Matric. The overarching objective of the Second Chance Matric Programme is to offer young people a second chance to obtain matric thus improving their chances of a better life.
The Programme is intended to provide support to learners who have not been able to meet the requirements of the National Senior Certificate and thereby meeting the goals of the National Development Plan by increasing learner retention.
As a result therefore, the Second Chance Matric Programme comprises of three phases of the National Senior Certificate (NSC).
These include the Learner Retention Programme which provides support for candidates writing the supplementary examinations, Modularised NSC Writing Option, Senior Certificate examinations and part-time NSC candidates writing in February/March, and October/November respectively.
We provide support to them through online/digital platforms such Facebook, 74 Vodacom Centres, Teacher Centres, NYDA Centres, Thusong Centres, Libraries (approximately 1 688). We also offer lessons through multiple television, and radio platforms. We conceptualised this programme on the basis of very concerning statistics that:
“More than half of all school-leavers each year enter the labour market without a senior certificate pass. 75 per cent of these will still be unemployed five years later.”
We have already travelled to the nook and cranny of our land to mobilise out of school youth for this programme.
Sanitation Appropriate for Education (SAFE)
In your recent SONA you said, ‘the safety of our learners in school is critical for creating a healthy, learning environment.’ Mr. President, we take your leadership in this area of decent sanitation very seriously.
In August last year you launched the Sanitation Appropriate for Education (SAFE). Between then and now considerable progress has been made.
In this regard, just last week, I launched the very first batch of appropriate sanitation facilities under the SAFE initiative at Ubuhle-Bemvelo Primary School, KwaZulu-Natal, courtesy of the private sector. Earlier today the Deputy Minister of Basic Education also launched a project of decent and appropriate sanitation facilities for the Early Childhood Development Centre here in Limpopo. You will be happy to know that the private sector is steaming ahead with new innovations in this space. I can promise you, Mr. President that as you said in SONA, pit latrines will be a thing of the past within the next three years. ‘You, watch this space.’
Mr. President, please allow me to divulge State secrets. You love reading, right! I know this personally that you’re an avid reader. In keeping with your commitment to the love of reading you made a clarion call in your recent SONA for the country to improve its reading capabilities. You said, ‘We will be substantially expanding the availability of early reading resources across the foundation phase of schooling.’
A week after your speech, Mr. President we put the ball rolling. We launched the National Reading Coalition (NRC) under the aegis of the National Education Collaboration Trust. The NRC will mobilise and provide support for and coordination of reading initiatives across class, race, gender and geographies. By its very nature as a coalition, it will lobby and assist Government to develop a national reading plan that aligns and coordinates various initiatives that support the ‘Read to Lead’ campaign.
Since you assumed the Office of the President, there’s so much goodwill in our land. I am convinced that we are ready to answer your SONA question as to whether, ‘we have realised the promise of our nation’s birth.’ Perhaps, we might have stumbled a bit in recent years or had a tortoise speed, but the future is bright.
Our people are ready to work with those who believe in the South Africa of Nelson Mandela, Oliver Tambo, Charlotte Maxeke and many other finest revolutionaries. Mr. President, ‘Send me, Thuma Mina.’
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!