Departmental Officials at National, Provincial and District Level;
School Governing Body Associations;
School Governing Bodies;
Members of Organised Labour;
Parents and Community members
It feels like yesterday when we conducted the 2018 SGBs elections.
Suddenly the term of office has come to an end for the current School Governing Bodies.
Programme Director, allow me to pass my gratitude to all parents and all past members of SGBs for the support given to the Class of 2020 amidst the Covid-19 global pandemic.
Your contribution to the national cause confirms what one philosopher once said: "A life well-lived is a life lived in the service of humanity."
Your term of office was characterised by uncertainty caused by the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic, especially the final year of your term.
Yet, with your guidance and support, we managed to save 2020 academic when it looked impossible.
For that, I will forever remain grateful. In short, weathered the storm together.
To the incoming SGBs, I would like to thank you for availing yourselves to serve our children, the country's most important asset.
You are faced with the difficult task of stabilising the basic education system under difficult conditions induced by a global health emergency, definitely not of our choosing.
It is true that men and women make history but certainly not under the circumstances of their choosing.
Programme Director, we gather today to talk about the most critical subject in basic education - the proper management of the public schooling system for the sake of our children.
Being part of the SGBs fulfils the historical mission of the Freedom Charter, i.e. to open the doors of learning for all.
Today, our singular aim is to congratulate the new incumbents of the School Governing Bodies (SGBs) and emphasise the importance of SGBs in overall school management.
Public schooling doesn't exist for itself but as a service to communities in the basic education system and ensures optimal delivery of state-funded quality public schooling.
This is a national cause whose entire success is dependent on our mutual cooperation as a country.
We congratulate the newly-elected members of the various SGBs throughout the country.
Our nation applauds you - for your activism, hard work and tenacity.
It is an open secret that the Department of Basic Education alone cannot achieve all its ambitious targets without the spirit of volunteerism demonstrated by parents and schooling communities.
We depend on parents to support teachers in educating and moulding our young minds into responsible adults.
Equally, we also depend on you to play that vital role of oversight to ensure that quality education is taking place in all schools under your watch.
Parents and communities' support for schools and their children's education should come naturally as part of a historical mission to bring about a Better Life for all.
We can only succeed through strengthening the pillars that make schools work for the better.
We must make our schools work smart, not just for this current crop of learners but also for future generations.
As the nation's guardians, our duty is that we can't escape to bring up our children in a nurturing school environment to improve their personal lives.
This improvement in their personal circumstances is a ticket out of poverty.
They can make a meaningful contribution to our society in the near future, especially in building our democracy and entrenching the values of social justice, peace, and liberty as enshrined in our constitution.
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 its adults being literate (GCE, 2010).
This is one of many reasons that we shall spare no effort in achieving universal, free and compulsory quality education for all South African children.
As our school management system has matured, the Department of Basic has formalised and institutionalised how parents and communities can be involved in schools.
Through the SGBs, parents can contribute to teaching and learning to improve learners' educational outcomes.
The Department of Basic Education cannot take such credit at all.
We are convinced that it is the vigilance and tenacity displayed by parents and communities in supporting these schools.
Again, I must applaud our parents' work in these schools with no expectation of glory or monetary reward.
These testing times are also exciting times as they allow us to dig deep into our capacity to bring about innovative ways for success.
We are allowed to evaluate our past endeavours, review what worked or not, and bring about positive change in our schools.
School Governing Bodies are by law given power over many aspects of the public schooling system.
I appeal to you not to abuse this power but use it to benefit this current crop of learners and future generations.
Please do not use our public schooling system to advance narrow party political interests.
Our schools are not a theatre for political games to enhance individual political ambitions or business interests.
Schools should not be used to launch political careers or settle frivolous personal scores.
The golden rule in being a member of the SGB is that everything you do is for society's benefit.
I would like to thank you in advance for your time, hard work, sacrifices, and never-dying spirit in our society's service.
May you never give up on the dream for a better life for the children of this country!
In conclusion, I encourage you to keep abreast with the latest developments in the basic education sector.
You're advised to always arm yourselves with all relevant policies that guide your roles and responsibilities.
I urge all SGB members to attend all relevant training sessions offered by the Department and SGB associations to improve your capacity as an individual and as the governing body as a whole.
I thank you.