MEC for education, Mr Dickson Masemola
Vodacom Regional Executive, Mr Joe Dlamini
Waterberg District Mayor, Cllr Rosina Mogotloane
Mayor of Lephalale, Cllr Jack Maeko
Principal of Lephalale Primary, Mr Maboga
Educators and learners
Community of Lephalale
I’m delighted to be here to celebrate the handing over of this fascinating learning facility – the new Vodacom-sponsored Lephalale Primary School.
To Vodacom, thank you so much for showing you care for people. Thank you for connecting children to the world through a lifeline of education.
This handover is very timely coming in the very week that reminds us we have much to celebrate. Census 2011 went out on Tuesday, showing the development of South Africans over the last ten years.
Census 2011 shows substantial progress in our collective effort to unseat the dominion of illiteracy and underdevelopment. It says by 2011, 28.4% of the population had completed Grade 12, compared to 20.4% in 2001.
Reaching out to rural communities, by providing schools and other services, as you’ve done here as Vodacom, will go a long way in reducing the number of people without any schooling, that is, 8.6% of the population, according to Census 2011.
It is by expanding educational opportunities that we can hope to bury poverty. Children who will go through this school will have better choices on their fingertips other than leaving Limpopo in search of an elusive pot of gold in Gauteng.
The Vodacom bias in favour of Limpopo, where it has already equipped 35 schools with computer centres and connectivity, is strategic in that it shows a sound corporate social investment policy and a willingness to plough back to communities where it matters the most. According to Census 2011, there is a relatively high percentage of persons aged 20 years and older with no schooling here in Limpopo (at 17.3 percent).
We’re determined to eradicate school infrastructure backlogs through mutually beneficial partnerships such as we have with Vodacom. My officials tell me, in building Lephalale Primary, Vodacom has spent R7.5 million. It has also invested in other schools in the country.
This school meets the standards we have set for new schools. It has 26 classrooms, a computer and science laboratory, a multimedia centre, an administration block, a hall, a nutrition centre, two toilet blocks, and space for a sports and netball field. It can accommodate 900 learners.
Lephalale will cater for Grade R to 7, very critical years for laying a solid educational foundation for children.
Indeed it demonstrates forward planning on the part of the Limpopo Education Department to have determined the need for this school in light of the influx of workers into this municipal district following the construction of a power station.
Most importantly, this development has increased the number of schools we have launched within a month.
On 2 October, with President Jacob Zuma, we launched 49 new schools in the Eastern Cape as part of the National School Built Programme and the DBE-driven Accelerated School Infrastructure Development Initiative.
We have prioritised the eradication of unsafe and mud schools. Over 3 years, our plan is to eradicate 496 inappropriate structures, provide basic water to 1257 schools, electricity to 878 schools, and basic sanitation to 868 schools. For this intervention, we have budgeted R8.2 billion.
Last year we provided 1648 classrooms, 316 sanitation blocks, water to 63 schools, electricity to 540 and fencing to 96 schools. In that period alone, 7 new schools were built.
The private sector in the provision of school infrastructure is very critical. With limited resources, government cannot do it alone. Education is a societal issue.
We need at least R35 billion to provide optimally functioning schools across the country.
Challenges we face include sorting out the issue of temporary teachers, filling vacant posts and up-scaling teacher development.
It is in this context that we welcome Vodacom’s launch of the Limpopo chapter of the Vodacom Mobile Education Programme next year, in Makhado. The resource centre will train 1 400 teachers from 172 schools annually, in the use of technology.
This being week two of matric exams, allow me to wish all learners success.
And once more, I apologise deeply to our people for the problem we encountered in this province around textbooks.
Orders have already been placed for 2013 to ensure we do not relive this nightmare.
It gives me great pleasure officially to hand over Lephalale Primary School to the community. It is your treasure. May it grow over a thousand years and yield forth a good harvest just like the marula tree that fortifies its foundation stone.
I thank you.