Programme director, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
This moment presents the converse of what Hendrik Verwoerd sought to achieve in his prime.
When given an opportunity to outline how education should be structured he responded "What is the use of teaching the Bantu child mathematics if it cannot use it in practice?"
To him, and to those who shared his philosophy, your dreams had to be what they wanted them to be.
They wanted the African child to dream little so as to strive for what is little.
The child of white parents may have wondered why I can't learn or play with the African child.
They may have dreamt of learning together, playing and sharing the stage together.
The moment we are sharing with you today has defeated all means to curtail the development of the young regardless of colour.
The results of the past examinations confirm that this country is building leaders.
In the near future I believe more of the older generation will be saying, "We are safe under them as leaders". We are safe under your leadership.
Programme director; allow me to thank the Denel Board, the executive team and the leadership at the various divisions for their vision to develop the academic initiatives that we are celebrating today.
What we celebrating today is Denel's gift to the entire nation.
The fact that so many provinces are benefitting from the Denel intervention points to the SOC's commitment to developing capacity to build a better South Africa.
The provinces of Gauteng, Limpopo, Mpumalanga and the Free State are represented by you today.
Your exceptional achievements should be owned by your provinces and the country.
It does not end here.
The class of 2014 has another road to travel. I am confident you have been adequately prepared.
The class of 2015, you have a responsibility to better the performance of the 2014 class.
We know it won't be easy.
As the lyrics of the song by Wee Gee would go, "Life is hard, and so unfair. Unless you believe that someone cares. Someone is there rain or shine, sharing your dreams, your heart and your mind".
We are aware that many of you have achieved this against considerable family challenges.
Some are from impoverished family backgrounds. The government through Denel wants you to change that situation.
Some had to travel long distances to attend classes. This opportunity is for you to pave way so that in future you reach your desired destination with ease.
The well-known American civil rights leader, Jesse Jackson once remarked: "If my mind can conceive it; If my heart can believe it; I know I can achieve it."
The fact that you are here says your mind conceived it; your heart believed you could do it. You knew that all depended on you to achieve it.
It does not end here. Our journey is always at the beginning.
I am grateful that as you begin with each step Denel is there, right next to you.
Denel has in recent years become synonymous with the concepts of innovation, high technology and cutting-edge research.
It is fulfilling that this state owned company has committed itself to education and consistent maintenance of high standards towards intellectual outcomes.
I must pay tribute to the many professionals and other staff members at Denel who continue to offer their time and experience to teach high school learners the intricacies of mathematics and science.
I must huge appreciation to them for mentoring the bursary holders and the young employees through their tertiary studies and into the early stages of their careers at Denel.
Through your bursary scheme, I challenge you to continue bridging the gap between the school environment and tertiary education leading to full-time employment.
Denel's investment in education may be relatively small, but you are, indeed, succeeding in your stated objective to attract the best and the brightest among the country's students and to grow and retain this talent through the various stages of their careers.
You deserve a very big thank you.
South Africa is currently in the early stages of a massive infrastructure development programme.
The programme is aimed at transforming the country's economic landscape, create significant numbers of job opportunities and strengthen the delivery of basic services.
Starting in 2013, government has embarked on the implementation of the National Infrastructure Plan.
This plan is intended to result in an investment of R4-trillion over 15 years to improve access of South Africans to healthcare facilities, schools, water, sanitation, housing and electrification.
New investments in the construction of ports, roads, railway systems, electricity plants and dams will contribute to faster economic growth and turn South Africa into the economic dynamo of the region and the entire continent of Africa.
State-owned companies such as Transnet, Eskom and Sanral play a leading role in the planning and implementation of 18 Strategic Infrastructure Projects spread across all nine provinces.
The objective of this SIP programme is to unlock our country's mineral and natural wealth, create extensive transport and logistics corridors, revitalise social infrastructure such as schools and hospitals and provide the backbone for our future information and communication networks.
An SOC such as Denel play a catalytic role through its investment in high technology, research and innovation.
Although Denel has a primary mandate to serve the national security needs of our Defence Force and police service, it is a well-established fact that you are increasingly moving into areas where your knowledge and accumulated expertise can serve the greater needs of society through the application of your research.
Throughout history defence research has often served as incubators for advances in other areas such as energy, aviation safety, the creation of the Internet, asset management and space research – and Denel has a proven track record in this regard at local level.
The National Development Plan requires that we rapidly expand the number of engineers, artisans and technicians to meet the demands of a growing economy.
Government at national level is leading the charge through the various Skills Education and Training Authorities (SETAs).
The National Skills Fund that will receive more than R1.7-billion in the 2015/16 financial year.
It is important that we are not overly fixated on university training as the only destination for high school leavers.
But that we also continue to develop opportunities for learning at the various other Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges.
I believe that Denel, through the Denel Technical Academy will continue producing capable artisans, engineers and technicians for the country.
Allow me to commend Denel for its dedication and successful efforts to popularise science and technology among female students at schools and tertiary institutions.
I am delighted to note the many young women who are among the top achievers that we are honouring today.
I want to extend my heartiest congratulations to each and every student who participated in the Denel programmes at high school and tertiary level.
A special acknowledgement goes to the top achievers who are being honoured here today.
I trust that you will see these achievements as staging points in your lives and not as the finishing lines.
I also want to call on you to plough back your knowledge and your experience into your own communities and into broader society.
We want to hear you singing your country's praises
I thank you