The chiefs present
MEC for education in the province of KwaZulu-Natal, Ms Peggy Nkonyeni
MPL in the KwaZulu-Natal Legislature: Ms
Deputy Minister of Communications, Ms Stella Ndabeni
District Mayor of the Hibiscus Municipality: Cllr Nqwebu
In absentia, District Mayor of the UGU District Municipality: Ms Dudu Mazibuko
Leadership of teacher unions
The School Principals
The learners here and those gathered in Zikode
Distinguished GuestsI greet you,
Oliver Tambo once said “a nation that does not value its youth does not deserve its future”.
The building of a nation is a process that places the training of the young at the forefront of its programme.
Our brutal past was shaped in a manner which served to exclude a major section of the community, the Africans.
It was shaped in a manner destined to produce no role models for the African child.
The black child mattered in so far as he or she was prepared to work a certain master.
A community of responsible citizens will always produce leaders who will want to be identified with change.
Those leaders would have been nurtured early in their lives and prepared to fight for the people.
One of those young people is Wandile Mkhize.
He was a young person influenced by the social disparities he witnessed growing up.
Young as he was, he committed himself to be the servant of the people in the fight against all forms of discrimination.
This included the apartheid defined discrimination based on colour.
The inequality, poverty and unemployment deprived him of the benefits of being a child.
He lived above his age not because of a choice he made.
At age 35, while being the Chief Whip of the ANC in the Hibiscus Coast Municipality, he was murdered in cold blood.
His killing happened on the 30th June 2012 which has its significance linked to the June 16 uprising of 1976.
Wandile Mkhize as a leader of young people and the community in general, lived his life with a conviction that the youth of this country will one day enjoy the fruits of a non-racial education.
The history of this school says it all.
Though created to benefit the coloured community, today it resembles what South Africa should truly be, a non-racial South Africa.
The miles which the school has travelled towards non-racialism, and battles Wandile Mkhize fought to entrench non-racialism, it is befitting that we deliver this system to this school in his memory.
You heeded the call from the Freedom Charter that “South Africa belongs to all who live in it, Black and White”.
We commend the leadership of the school for their endeavours to free the school from historical racial prejudices.
It is when you understand where are from and where we are going that you will be prepared to defend your country.
The community has a responsibility of protecting its children and ensuring that they grow in an environment that allows them to prosper.
The history of Zikode Secondary School shows how far we can go when leaders of the people take the lead.
Founded in 1991 I must say thank you to the community and its leaders for their persistency.
It rarely happens that a leader would dedicate land for use by the public without expecting any form of payment.
It is actions such as the one by Chief Zwane that reminds us what it means to be an African.
This was a commitment by the Chief and the community to create a better life for the children.
In honour of the community under the Ingwe Tribal Authority, today Zikode Secondary is switching on its telematics facility which will benefit 14 other schools in the surrounding.
We could not protect the young Wandile Mkhize. We could not protect other young people.
But in memory of young people like Wandile, we can commit to continue supporting the development of capable young people through education and training.
As learners, you must be involved in shaping the future of this country.
The role of youth in any society is of paramount importance as heirs of the future we are building today.
We have to allow and equip them to shape this tomorrow that they will inherit.
The tomorrow must not be a stranger to them when their time to lead arrives.
It is these learners whom we expect to jealously guard this Freedom, to defend with their brains and sweat what Wandile envisioned for this community.
It must be clear that we are building leaders in you.
The way you talk must inspire and how you walk must model the behaviour of a young person in a free society.
It was in Kliptown that what we are realising here today was born. As a dream, ama-Volontiya walked through dusty streets and trains to collect what our people yearned for.
Together in Unity they said “Doors of Learning and Culture shall be opened”.
Honourable MEC, indeed today Harding, Zikode Secondary Schools and the schools surrounding them are experiencing that dream.
The government using its capabilities and SOC is committed to bettering the lives of our people.
Education of the young is primary in this commitment.
Thanks to Eskom we are here.
Eskom is a State Owned Company reporting to the Department of Public Enterprises.
It has as its primary mandate the provision of electricity to lighten up the country.
Together with the other SOC under the DPE, Eskom and other SOC are committed to working together through the CSI Forum.
This collaboration is meant to ensure that visible impact is realised when the SOC relate to the communities in terms of service delivery.
Education is one of the four focus areas of our CSI programme.
As a result, the telematics programme was born out of the CSI forum of all DPE SOC.
ESKOM facilitated and carried the costs of the installation of the telematics facility here in Harding Secondary and in Zikode Secondary school.
They themselves chose these schools and acknowledged the schools in the surrounding.
Telematics System provides a satellite based interactive platform for learners.
Through this platform they are able to access education support in various subjects such as Maths and Science with the aim of improving their performance.
Learners have the benefit of asking questions live using their cellphones.
Teacher support is important in this regard because classes are presented on weekends and outside school hours.
We are encouraged that teachers also welcomed the integration of ICT tools in modern education.
Recognising that we need more learners doing maths and sciences in order improve our economy, we are confident that this facility will assist teachers as well.
We are grateful that the University of Stellenbosch has allowed the benefit of this system to support schools in the previously disadvantaged communities.
With the NDP requiring that we produce about 34000 artisans per year, we believe that with the support of this system, more of you will register for engineering courses post schooling.
Programme Director, the connection of the system is at no cost to the school thanks to Eskom.
With all written and said about Eskom and load-shedding, we hope all will be written and said about Eskom and development of the communities.
The National Youth Policy 2009-14 recognised the need for government to develop interventions meant to extend coverage and increase impact.
The Draft National Youth Policy 2014-20 directs the government to create an environment enabling youth to be productive citizens.
The proposal goes further to state that this could be achieved by equipping them with the necessary skill.
Our SOC have been directed to consider industry-specific challenges that inhibits further access of youth in areas such as aviation, mining beneficiation, marine capabilities to support our ports, and sector specific skills through artisan development and engineers.
The SOC have been able to play their part in ensuring that critical skill is developed.
Through Denel Academy, Eskom Academy and Transnet Academy, we have been able to train engineers and artisans for our economy.
Graduates from these academies are absorbed and many are currently working for the SOC.
It is true that others could not be absorbed, together with MISA, we are in discussions on how to sustain the skill of our artisans.
The personnel in any organisation will be affected by time as the capacity will age.
Through the youth of this country, our strategic SOC such as Transnet Engineering, TFR, Denel Dynamics, Aerostructures and Eskom will always need new blood to sustain them for the country.
Programme Director, we must be jealous of what is ours.
The support of the school principal and the teachers is important for the success of the programme.
It is important that learners are made to understand why it is important for them to attend these classes.
To everybody here, the community in general, these children need your support.
As a community the safety of our schools and the equipment installed rests in your hands.
MEC, your course is ours. That is why we are here.
I thank you.