Acting Deputy Vice Chancellor,
Executive Dean Prof Awi Kotze,
Executive Mayors, Councillor Khotso Khumalo and Barei Segotso,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Most of all, you the Graduates and your families,
Dumelang, Goeie middag, Sanibonani, Good afternoon, Ndi masiari, Thobela, Avuxeni, Salaam u aleikum.
We are gathered here today to celebrate, to celebrate the achievements of the youth of country and in particular participants in the Community Works Programme.
Regrettably, we do so as a nation in mourning with a profound sense of loss and deep sadness for the passing away of Mam’ Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.
President Cyril Ramaphosa spoke for the nation when he said:
“Even at the darkest moments of our struggle for liberation, Mam’ Winnie was an abiding symbol of the desire of our people to be free.
In the midst of repression, she was a voice of defiance and resistance. In the face of exploitation, she was a champion of justice and equality.
For many years, she bore the brunt of the senseless brutality of the apartheid state with stoicism and fortitude. Despite the hardships she faced, she never doubted that the struggle for freedom and democracy would succeed.
She remained throughout her life a tireless advocate for the dispossessed and the marginalised. She was a voice for the voiceless.
Let us draw inspiration from the struggles that she fought and the dream of a better society to which she dedicated her life.
May her soul rest in peace.”
It is an honour to be part of this great occasion to celebrate and congratulate all the students for their hard work and perseverance which has resulted in them being called graduates today.
South Africa needs educated citizens to contribute in addressing the socio-economic challenges, brought about by poverty, inequality and unemployment.
You give our nation hope. You exemplify what President Ramaphosa said recently at the launch of the Youth Employment Service:
“All the successful people took the time to read. I now read 30 books a year...Those who listen often come back to me and say Mr President, you have encouraged me to read. I have a cousin who reads a book a week.”
And, on a lighter note:
“If you want to be successful, read. Even when you go to the loo to do the number two, take a book and then wash your hands after that. Don’t wash the book.”
Government is executing the mandate that you gave it to implement programmes to deal decisively with poverty, unemployment and inequality, by empowering and giving opportunities, especially to young people and women.
One of the Community Work Programme, where participants are recruited from the poorest of the poor to do community work.
The Community Work Programme provides 303 820 participants with the opportunity to do socially useful work as defined by the community for two days a week, eight days a month and one hundred days a year. This puts R2,3 billion into the pockets and onto the tables of participants.
CWP provides participants with opportunities while helping to make life better through community vegetable gardens, community parks, maintaining schools, making bricks, providing home based care, working at early childhood development centres, recycling waste into arts and crafts and many other activities.
We are happy that, through a partnership with the University of North West, 16 of those participants successfully completed the three-year Grade R Diploma in record time and are graduating today.
We are proud of you. On behalf of Minster Zweli Mkhize, and the Departments of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, we congratulate you and celebrate with you that your hard work and dedicated efforts have paid off.
You are proudly wearing the mantle of Mam’ Winnie Mandela of building a better future for all South Africans.
Baie dankie, Enkosi, Thank you, Ke a leboga, Inkomu, Ndi a livhuwa, Shukran.