Handover of facilities to three schools Umlalazi Municipality

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                                           Speech by

                                 The Honorable MB Gwala, MPP
                             Minister of Public Works: KwaZulu-Natal

MBONGOLWANE                                                 23 SEPTEMBER 2005

Program Director,
Inkosi Ntuli and local councilors,
Mayor of Umlalazi Municipality Mr. Stan Larkan,
Mayor of Uthungulu District Municipality Mr. BV Mthethwa and
Principals and members of their teaching staff
Other honored guests,
Parents and learners
I greet you all.

I am very grateful for the invitation extended to me by the Mayor Mr.
Larkan, on behalf of the uMlalazi Municipality, to be present here and
to witness the good things that we see happen today.

Words are failing us to fully express how thankful we are to those
who played a significant role in the provision of educational facilities
that are before us today.                 I congratulate Umlalazi Municipality for
having a Mayor of Mr. Larkan’s caliber.                     We do not doubt his
commitment to the service of the people. To those who were still
doubtful it is now their chance to satisfy themselves today since
deeds speak louder than words.

To many amongst, when we think about traveling abroad, we
immediately have on our minds an image of a person on a holiday.
But with Mr. Larkan that definitely wasn’t the case. For him it was an
opportunity to prove himself as a real go-getter. We dare not forget
our friends in Norway for their generosity they have shown towards
the poor of this country.

I am happy to say today we are indeed blessed in having Ms
Margunn Bech amongst us all the way from Norway. No words can
sufficiently express our indebtedness to the people of Norway for
their gift. The Norwegian people are well known in the Zulu society
fro their philanthropic work they have been doing among our poor

Their good work is not a recent thing. To the younger generation I
want you to know that when we were born, the Norwegian people,
through their missionary work (especially the Lutheran Church), had
already been doing good work among our people over many years.
Some of us will remember that the Lutheran Church came in several
missionary streams.

Those that I remember were the Norwegian Mission (Norway), the
Swedish Mission (Sweden), the German Mission (Germany) and the
American Lutheran Mission (America). We can not recount all the
good works these missions did in our society. We know that many of
our prominent leaders received their education from their missionary
schools.    Of course it was not the Lutherans only who were

committed in this regard. Other church denominations also played
their part in this work.

It must be remembered that successive white governments of that
time did not consider it an important matter to provide for the
education of the indigenous people. Help from the missionaries did
not with educational matters, but these missions also built hospitals
for us.    I feel I must say this because to many of the younger
generation you may not be aware of the fact that there are many
hospitals that were established in this way although most of them
ended being taken over by the State.

Among some of those hospitals we may mention Mbongowlane
Hopsital not far from where we are, Montebello Hospital (in
Ndwedwe), Appelsbosch (in Maphumulo), KwaHlabisa (in Hlabisa)
Ceza and Nkonjeni (in Mahlabathini), McCord Hospital (in Durban)
and others. Our friends have demonstrated dedication in whatever
they do.

Changes brought about by technological advancement provide a
challenge to us to rise up and be in step with the rest of the world.
The challenge of providing computers in the schools places a
demand on us as government to supply electricity throughout the
country. However, the question of supplying electricity power is a
national government competency over which we have no final say.
The technological influence that I have alluded to also calls for
changes in our educational system or curriculum so that it can

respond to the demands of the time. Change does not accommodate
children that are lazy to read because they will need to keep on
adding their knowledge if they are to remain marketable and relevant.
In other words our children must realize that learning is a lifetime

I am becoming more hopeful for the future when I see that even here
at Mbongowlane, a rural place, computers are being delivered to us
so that we are not left behind. It must be borne in mind that to be an
expert in any field, one has to start early. Therefore I say intellectual
giants that can command respect all over the world can come from
this area too, as long as the necessary opportunities are provided
early on in your lives.

Did you know that the heart surgeon of world fame, Professor Chris
Barnard was not born in the big city of Cape Town? In fact he was
born in then an insignificant little town of Beaufort West in the arid
vast land of Karoo, Western Cape. But because white citizens were
provided with all facilities, he was able to distinguish himself early in
the field of medicine because he had a good science background at

I will have failed in my speech if I do not mention Ms Mdlalose-
Mlongo for her dream, vision and unequalled dedication, digging
deep into her own pocket to start the project for the disabled that we
see today.    It was that dedication that touched the heart of Ms
Edeltraus    Parensen who was visiting Mbongolwane Mission on

holiday from Germany. Without explaining all the historical details,
the fact remains that the physically challenged of our people are now
catered for in this institution, right in the deep rural area.

Many will readily agree that special places like this one are only
available in big cities. To you Nyanda we say THANK YOU! It is a
pity that philanthropic deeds such that of you Nyanda do not enjoy
media coverage. I am certain that if you were doing this good work in
one of our cities, this would have been widely reported in the
newspapers and Television, which would even attract more donations
from many sources.        If it were according to my wishes, I would
already have awarded you with a Community Builder of the Year
medal! To you Ms Edeltraus, we appreciate your kind heart which led
things getting done.

This poses a challenge to the government which it has to tackle head
on by ensuring that this institution does not close down and instead,
the relevant government department must see to it that other facilities
that are there yet, are in fact provided. The need for this service in
this community has already been demonstrated.

It is true that the government has a Department of Social
Development.      However, the needs will always surpass annual
budget allocations year after year. A government’s program aimed at
combating poverty and joblessness, called Expanded Public Works
Program (EPWP) there are conditions that the government ahs
stipulated with regard to jobs created by the EPWP.

Although this is project in which all government departments are
participants, I will only make an example through the Department of
Public Works, which is a portfolio that has been placed in my charge.
Whenever there is a construction project to be done, contractors who
are awarded the tender to do the job are required by law to appoint
the local people where the project is happening. Further more, a total
of job opportunities so created has to be allocated as follows:

    • 60% of the jobs goes to women;
    • 30% of the jobs goes to the youth;
    • 02% of the jobs goes to the disabled;
    • What remains there will then go to men.

Of course there are many good reasons that support this kind of
reasoning on the part of the government and which are obvious to
many of you.        What I wanted to emphasize is that we in the
government have come to realize that in all government programs,
we have to cater for those who are physically challenged, even with
planning of the public places where we conduct our daily business.

A   short     history   of   Thembimfundo   School   shows   that   with
determination and cooperation, anything can be accomplished.
Those who are observant say that all successful undertakings have a
humble beginning.        I am pleased to have been part of witnesses
when the official handover of these facilities to these three schools
took place.

Allow me to conclude by wishing all learners at these schools
everything of the best and also want to say that we will be waiting for
great achievers to come out of these schools. When that eventually
happens, when it is no longer wishes or dreams, you will remember
the community of Mbongolwane and come back to lend a hand in
whatever will still be needed in that time.

With those few remarks, Program Director, allow me to announce to
respectable audience that we are now officially handing the
equipment to the three schools.

I thank you.


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