Address by Honourable Premier R.M. Mtshweni-Tsipane on the occasion of the handover of the Aerorand Primary School

12 January 2022

Programme Director;
Hon. MEC for Education, Mr. Bonakele Majuba;
Hon. MEC for Public Works, Roads and Transport, Ms. Mohita Latchminarain;
The Executive Mayor of Nkangala District Municipality, Cllr Leah Mabuza;
The Executive Mayor of Steve Tshwete Local Municipality, Cllr Mhlonishwa Masilela;
Officials from the Department of Education and the host school, led by the Head of Department, Ms. Lucy Moyane;
The community of Aerorand;
Ladies and Gentlemen;
Good morning;

  1. Programme Director, it is my singular honour and privilege to be with you all, for the official handover of the Aerorand Primary School.

  2. For the learners of this new institution, their families and the community of Aerorand, this is a significant investment in the development of this community.

  3. This watershed moment of the hand over, invokes memories left by the father of our rainbow nation, uTata Nelson Mandela. On an occasion such as this, Madiba famously stated that: “Education is the most powerful weapon one can use to change the world.”

  4. Without education it will be impossible to achieve a better life for all, unless we use education as a ‘weapon’ that Madiba spoke about, to break the cycle of poverty, inequality and unemployment.

  5. So today, we are handing over Aerorand Primary School, as a weapon.

  6. Furthermore, we are asserting the rights of all our children to receive quality education in quality educational infrastructure with water, electricity and adequate sanitation, through this school.

  7. Programme Director, it is only through universal quality basic education that we will be able to equip our children with the set of skills needed to navigate the demands of our new normal necessitated by the covid-19 pandemic.

  8. This primary school will accommodate an initial 402 students intake of 24 Grade R students and 378 students between Grades 1-6. A phase in process of Grade 7 learners, I am told, will ensue from next year.

  9. This school will also house an administration block that will centrally manage operations and the 32 officials employed in various capacities.

  10. I urge the officials deployed to this school to embed a culture of academic and extracurricular excellence.

  11. We are entrusting our children to you. This must be an environment of discipline, free from fear, discrimination and any form of abuse.

  12. Programme Director, this school, equipped with a library and a computer laboratory, reflects the future of education infrastructure in the Province.

  13. We will not rest on our laurels until we eliminate the brutal legacy of poor infrastructure we inherited upon the advent of our constitutional democracy.

  14. We will not rest until all our children in Mpumalanga attend schools with proper sanitation and not constructed with harmful materials such as asbestos.

  15. The construction of such state of art schools, will be our new approach for the benefit of our communities in this period of advanced technology. The maintenance and infrastructural upgrades of 28 schools, is in the pipeline. We are determined to complete such work before the end of the financial year. This will be expanded to even more schools in the new financial year.

  16. Programme Director, providing quality education requires collaboration between government, our communities through School Governing Bodies and the private sector. It is a societal responsibility to equip our children with the best opportunities to enable them to be productive members of society in the future.

  17. I am happy that companies such as MTN have elected to join us today as we handover this school to the community of Aerorand. I am even more pleased that, in recognition of their responsibility to contribute meaningfully to the development of this school, MTN has donated over 50 tablets for utilisation in the school’s laboratory.

  18. This support will boost our efforts to digitise learning and to equip our children with skills that will shape the 4th industrial revolution such as coding and robotics.

  19. As government, we will ensure that this school will benefit from our numerous skills development interventions in early cognitive development in primary schools to ensure that we mould children that are able to comprehend Mathematics, Science, ICT, Language, Literacy and Numeracy.

  20. We will also utilise the skills development interventions to provide temporary employment opportunities for unemployed graduates within our communities in an effort to empower the school community.

  21. Programme Director, the investment that we have made in education since the advent of democracy has resulted in a steady improvement in educational outcomes for the Province of Mpumalanga.

  22. As the 79 857 pupils who wrote the national senior certificate examinations late last year wait with bated breath for their results, we must remember that their success is inextricably linked to the principles instilled in our primary schools.

  23. Primary schools are the foundation upon which our future is built, as individuals, as a community and as a Province.

  24. I urge the community of Aerorand to take full advantage and make the best of the learning opportunities we are placing at their disposal.

  25. In conclusion Programme Director, as schools across the Province open today, I urge all our learners to be ambitious, to have a dream, to be disciplined, to be punctual at all times, to listen to the instructions of the teachers, to do your homework, to participate in sports, and above all, to study hard and progress to the next grade.

  26. Remember you are our greatest and most valuable asset because the future of this Province is in your hands.

  27. I thank you.

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