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Minister Brown speaking notes at Career Expo in George

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Minister Brown speaking notes at Career Expo in George
​To: All Media
Date: 27 March 2017
For Immediate Release

Executive Mayor of George Municipality, Councillor Melvin Naik
The Principals
Mr Morton Van Rooyen of George High
Mr Mbuyisi Mbotshelwa of Imizamo Yethu Secondary School
Mr. Philip Rothman of Parkdene High School
Mr Norman Cona of Thembalethu High School
Members of the School Governing Bodies
Teachers and
Grade 11-12 learners
Molweni, Goeie Oggend, Good morning

When your parents and grandparents were your age there was not much
encouragement for them to do well at school.

The apartheid government said it was senseless to teach black children subjects
such as science or maths because they didn't need such knowledge to work in
gardens, supermarkets and factories.

With few exceptions, the highest we could go was to become a teacher, preacher or

“Higher” professions – such as doctors, lawyers and engineers – were reserved for
white people. They had a policy of W.E.E. (WEE). And by that I refer not to their
toilet habits, but to White Economic Empowerment.

By the time you were born, these policies had been flushed away by our
democratically elected government.

But the consequences of the policies are what we still see around us today: In
impoverished homes and communities, in the massive divide between rich and poor, 

and in the masses of unskilled and unemployed people.
The consequences are in our overcrowded homes, our parents’ struggles to put
bread on the table, in domestic violence, the level of substance abuse including
alcohol, the indignity and hardship of joblessness, in teenage pregnancies, the
number of people who depend on SASSA. There are 17 million people getting grants
from SASSA.

The big difference between then and now, however, is that a framework has been
established that gives you the power to address your circumstances. To extract
yourselves from the poverty trap, to add dignity to your parents’ lives – and,
collectively, to drag your families and communities with you.
This power is something you should treasure; it’s something your parents and
grandparents didn't have. It’s your ticket…

Young people of George…

I was young once, and I know that when you are young responsibility can be difficult.
There are so many distractions. And life can sometimes feel so unfair.
Some of the most talented people in my class at school ended up working for
Shoprite, in the unemployment queues – or in prison.
It was as if we were living in a world with a very low ceiling in which we all had to
walk with bended necks.

In 1994, the new government began dismantling the ceiling. But 23 years later, many
of our people are still walking around stooped.

There are critical imbalances in our society and still-skewed economy. The
unemployment rate is increasing, but we suffer from skills shortages. There are
precious few jobs available, but lots of vacancies for those with a grounding in maths
and science.

That’s why we are together today.

If there’s one thing we must achieve it will be to raise our downcast eyes to see the
real opportunities that await us. IF we want them badly enough. IF we are willing to
take responsibility for ourselves.

Ladies and gentlemen…

On my visit to George High and Thembalethu High as part of government’s Back-toSchool
campaign, seven weeks ago, I spoke to the principals about their schools’
most pressing needs (and have some positive feedback for them and you).
But, more importantly, I promised to return with representatives of some of the StateOwned
Companies in the Department of Public Enterprises’ portfolio to host a career

I told you about a similar visit to Gugulethu a couple of years ago, where we
recruited six matriculants to train as pilots. I want similar outcomes here.
Our society doesn't need more unskilled labour. It needs doctors, lawyers,
accountants, biologists, physicists, mathematicians.
Our State-Owned Companies need engineers, geologists, foresters, pilots… They
need systems designers and analysts, software writers, project managers… They
need the chief executives and chief financial officers of tomorrow.
And some of these people should come from George.

Today, I am accompanied by a team of experts from Eskom, Transnet, SA Express
and Denel.

I am very pleased that Parkdene High and Imizamo Yethu High could also join us

How many of you are doing maths and science?
Can all Parkdene and Imizamo Yethu learners present raise their hands for a
moment please... Thank you... Now, could all Parkdene and Imizamo Yethu pupils
studying maths and science put up their hands.

Distinguished guests…

Before disclosing the good news of the day, allow me to tell you a little about stateowned
companies – and why they are so important to completing the puzzle of our

Of the hundreds of State-Owned Companies in South Africa, just six are in the Public
Enterprises’ portfolio: The four represented here today + the diamond works,
Alexkor, and the forestry company, SAFCOL.
But Eskom and Transnet, alone, control assets worth more than R800 Billion. They
are giant companies, employing tens of thousands of people – and are arguably the
hard spine of South Africa’s economy.

Where State-Owned Companies differ from private companies is that private
companies are solely interested in making profit for their shareholders.
State-Owned Companies must similarly account on bottom line to their shareholders
representative – the Minister of Public Enterprises – but they are also called on to
play a role in the country’s developmental and transformation objectives.
They therefore have a very real interest in your development and advancement. The
stronger you are, the stronger they will be.

The State-Owned Companies in the Department of Public Enterprises’ Portfolio have
refocused their Corporate Social Investment Programmes to help shape the
competitive business environment in which we operate.
The main focus of their support is on Science, Technology, Engineering and
Mathematics (STEM) subjects, to create a pool of new job-seekers with the skills to
plug the skills shortage.
Between April and September 2016, these State-Owned Companies collectively
spent over R81 million on Corporate Social Investment projects benefiting nearly six
hundred thousand people.

Young people…

I am very excited to announce that Eskom will be awarding 10 bursaries to George
learners to study engineering and medicine next year. These bursaries will be
exclusively distributed among the four schools present today.
But, as they say in the adverts, that’s not all.
Eskom will further be installing intercom systems at the four schools to create safer
and more effective learning environments. I am told a local service provider has
already engaged the schools on this matter.

Denel has also come to the party, agreeing to create a winter school camp for
matriculants at the four schools. The camp will provide learners with the opportunity
to work with specialist experiential educators, and build inter-generational
relationships. Teacher involvement will be vital. Among the envisaged outcomes of
the winter camp will be team building, developing leadership skills, and improving
abilities to overcome limitations. This is something I want to do in all regions of our

Not to be left out, Transnet has agreed to improve conditions at George High’s
hostels in the coming financial year and they will also donate 4 libraries.
And my Department has donated sanitary towels and school uniforms. There is also
a process from my Department to repair the fence at Thembalethu High.
Ladies and gentlemen…

We are not here to play Mother and Father Christmas. We are here to urge you to
get the results you need to enter the careers our economy needs.
Government is committed through the National Development Plan to improving lives
through education. To do this we need to strengthen partnerships between
educators, learners, parents, communities and the state. I am very encouraged by
this partnership, and in particular the support of the George Municipality.

In his recent State of the Nation Address, the President set out a forthright
government agenda of radical economic transformation that emphasised the
importance of growing a dynamic and competitive economy.

It begins with closing the skills gap.

With piercing the false ceiling that continues to down press us.

It begins with you

I thank you.


For enquiries contact Colin Cruywagen on 082 3779916.
Issued by Ministry of Public Enterprises
27 March 2017
Page last modified:29/03/2017 15:30