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Keynote Address by the Minister of Basic Education, Mrs Angie Motshekga, MP, at the Oracle New Office Official Opening Ceremony held in Woodmead, Johannesburg, 5th September 2019

Programme Director

Oracle’s Executive Vice President Dorian Daley

Oracle Managing Director Niral Patel

Oracle Executive Committee

Top Learners

Distinguished Guests

Ladies and Gentlemen

 

It is my singular honour and privilege to address all of you as we mark the official opening of the Oracle Corporation South Africa Office.

The opening of this new office signals a vote of confidence in our economy.

It is an unambiguous investment and evidence of the group’s commitment to our country.  

Beyond the unfavorable newspaper headlines, South Africa remains a gateway to the rest of the African continent.

South Africa remains an oasis of peace, democracy and social justice.

We have become a land of opportunity for South Africans and rest of our people beyond our borders.

Our land and our soil is rich.

Our oceans teem with life, where the beautiful vistas of our country are spectacular and its diverse people are vibrant and resilient, says our President, His Excellence Cyril Ramaphosa. 

We are the largest nation in Southern Africa and the world's 25th largest country by land mass.

We are the people of Nelson Mandela, the world icon for peace, social justice and democracy.

We are the only country in the world to have had its former President, Mandela honoured by the United Nations through a dedicated Nelson Mandela International Day.

According to Jim Myers, president of the American Chamber of Commerce in South Africa: ‘The sophisticated business environment of South Africa provides a powerful strategic export and manufacturing platform for achieving global competitive advantage, cost reductions and new market access.’

We have the most sophisticated banking industry. According to the Global Bank Quality Benchmarking study, South Africa’s major banks have the highest quality among 100 banks across 32 countries.

This is despite the fact that the trading conditions in South Africa are subdued. The economy suffers from low growth, high unemployment and low investment.

As a result, the government is operating in a constrained fiscal environment.

But the biggest culprit in this scenario is lack of trust and confidence in the South African government.

I stand before you today to say, we have turned the corner since Cyril Ramaphosa became our President two years ago.

Programme Director, in keeping with Oracle’s trailblazing nature in business, the new office, I am told, boasts a 4 Green Star rating, and will allow for the active monitoring of energy, water and waste consumption.

But nothing warms my heart more than the artwork made out of strings of the new South African flag which decorates each floor.

Our new flag represents hope, renewal and social justice.

Whereas the old flag represents pain, torture, dehumanisation, racial disharmony and its government as a pariah of the world.

Hence the Equality Court ruled recently that the gratuitous display of the old flag represents hate speech, and it is thus unconstitutional.

The opening of this new office comes at an important time when our government is undertaking its journey of renewal in order to rebuild trust and restore growth prospects for South Africa.

We are buoyed by the Stats SA Tuesday’s announcement that South Africa avoided a second recession in two years, with the economy growing by 3.1% in the three months to end-June.  

I appeal to you to stay the course as one of the most valuable companies today that invests in our country.  

Please tell your peers that the macroeconomic fundamentals in this country are sound.

Our Reserve Bank is one of the best in the world.

Our judiciary dispenses justice in a predictable manner guided only by the law and the Constitution.

Our media is free and fiercely independent.

Our people are warm and welcoming. We greet strangers in the streets.

In fact, we have the best weather all year long in this country.

Indeed, invest in our country. South Africa is open for business.  

Programme Director, Oracle is more than just a business software company but the gold mining conglomerate of the future.

Oracle is to the South African economy today what the Anglo American was in the previous century. 

Anglo went beneath the surface for the riches of the earth whereas Oracle is mining the riches of the infinite cloud to recharge, and reimagine businesses processes while solving customer’s problems.

It is therefore no exaggeration to say Oracle Corporation is involved in a sunset industry.

You have certainly embedded innovative technologies in every aspect of the cloud solutions thus enabling companies to reimagine their businesses, processes, and experiences.

Programme Director, it is indeed true that the only businesses that will survive the disruptive nature of the emerging technologies are those who are focused on solving real, and tangible challenges of today and those of the future.

Hence, Oracle is at a pinnacle of the 21st century digital and software revolution.

I appeal to your shareholders and stakeholders to partner with us as we introduce skills of the future in our curriculum.

I am delighted to inform you that one of our priorities for the next five years includes the immediate implementation of a curriculum focusing on skills and competencies for a changing world.

This addition to the curriculum takes into account the disruption brought by the 4th Industrial Revolution as well as the introduction of Entrepreneurship, schools of specialisation and/or focus schools.

We have begun the process of transforming our curriculum by introducing new and exciting subjects such as Coding and Robotics.

Our plan includes the introduction of 10 types of Focus Schools incrementally throughout the country in the Medium to Long Term to offer these new subjects, and other skills based subjects.

Interestingly, we also intend to establish Hi-Tech (IT, Coding and Robotics Schools), Arts, Maths and Science, BCM, Aviation, Maritime, Engineering (Technical High Schools), Hospitality & Tourism, Schools of Skills and Commercial Schools.

I already know that Oracle South Africa will build and capacitate one of the Hi-Tech Schools. You see Vice President Dorian that is what happens if you invite a politician to your event.

I sincerely hope your Board will take cognisance of our renewal project both as a Department and as a country. We remain convinced that education is a societal matter.

As the President Ramaphosa announced, in the next six years all our learners with have workbooks and textbooks in a tablet device.

Programme Director, I am pleased that Oracle continues to be a reliable partner for development especially in the basic education sector.

It has been over a decade since we launched the ambitious, Ponelopele Oracle Secondary School, in Tembisa, Midrand.

In the 12 years since it was founded, the School has seen more than 1 400 students matriculate with an average pass rates of 88 percent.

The success of Ponelopele Oracle Secondary School is a great example of the effectiveness of a public private partnership to achieve our common goals.

We are proud that our collaboration with the Oracle which has helped make a difference in the lives of thousands of our children here in Gauteng, the heartbeat of SA economy.

Today, multitudes of learners have had a taste of the tech savvy, 4th Industrial Revolution inspired basic education.

I know that your investment in knowledge is far deeper than the school I have mentioned.

I am told that you support more than 6.3 million students annually in 128 countries around the world.

I am pleased to be part of the South African leg of the bursary provision today as Oracle’s Executive Vice President Dorian Daley dishes up R10 million worth of bursaries to top learners. 

Perhaps, this is an early Christmas for our children. Thank you for investment in the dreams and aspirations of one of our most valuable asset, our children.

Programme Director; the partnership we have with Oracle is really unique and a special one.

It is rooted not just in the ritual that corporates should and must invest in the communities in which they operate, but it is an overarching endeavour to improve the lot of the African Child in particular and South African children in general.  

The partnership also addresses the imperatives of the King 111 Report on corporate governance.

Furthermore, it also fit faultlessly with the dictates of the National Development Plan (NDP) which states that:

“Improved education ... will lead to higher employment and earnings, while more rapid economic growth will broaden opportunities for all and generate the resources required to improve education. (p. 26)”

Perhaps, due to the special nature of our partnerships with Oracle – it should be considered as a model of partnerships in the basic education sector.

Oracle’s investment in our country makes this global giant a truly beacon of hope and progress towards a truly improved quality of basic education.

Our partnership with Oracle has also broken the artificial barriers between and among different role players in the basic education space – i.e. Corporate, Community, Learners and Teachers.

There is a unity of purpose here of which other corporates and communities can take a leaf out of this book.

I wish Oracle Corporation SA all success.

May you continue to invest in our mission to build a country where everyone feels free yet bounded to others as the thread of common humanity bides us?  

We envision a country where everyone reaches their full potential and fulfil their dreams.

A country where opportunity is determined not by birth, but by ability, education and hard work.

On behalf of the South African Government, we salute you for your continued investment in our country. Beautiful offices by the way.

I thank you.

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Written By: Administrator Account
Date Posted: 9/6/2019
Number of Views: 100

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