Minister of energy addresses learners in Limpopo

January 16th, 2019, Published in Articles: Energize

On School Energy Day and as part of the Department of Energy’s “back to school” programme, the minister of energy, Jeff Radebe, addressed learners who had gathered at Nzhelele, Makhado Multipurpose Centre, Biaba in Limpopo and donated shoes to them. The following is the minister’s speech to the learners.

Jeff Radebe

It is with a sense of gratitude to all involved in convening this occasion that we meet here today as the 2019 academic year kicks off in earnest. Energy is the engine for economic development of any country including our own country, the Republic of South Africa. As a country we are investing a lot of resources in the energy sector so that we can generate sufficient energy to meet both our needs and those of export demand opportunities.

As many of you would know, President Ramaphosa has set out mobilising a target of over US$100-billion investment in South Africa over the next few years to enable more economic growth and therefore higher levels of employment. As the energy sector we have heeded that call, particularly on investment in renewable energy.

The Department of Energy has a mandate to ensure that South Africa has sustainable provision of energy to drive our radical socio-economic development agenda. Some of you would know that this radical socio-economic transformation agenda is driven through the National Development Plan whose vision is to eliminate the trio challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality. The investments in the energy sector that we are talking about require experts to provide skilled and technical labour. This is what brought us here to talk to you about career and business opportunities in the energy sector.

I hope this will contribute in broadening the career scope of the youth of this area from whom, as it is with the youth everywhere in our country, we expect future leaders in the energy sector. Already officials from the Department of Energy and energy entities have spoken to you about opportunities in the energy sector.

The School Energy Day is therefore our programme to enable effective platforms to engage young South Africans on career opportunities in the energy sector. Through bursaries, human capital programmes and dissemination of general energy information, it is our resolve to empower the youth to take over the reigns of our country, leading it to greater heights than past generations ever did. South Africa has a shortage of technical skills, particularly engineers, artisans, project managers, environmentalists, technologist and other skills that remain scarce in the economy.

That is why my counterpart the minister of higher education, Naledi Pandor, has emphasised during this back to school campaign, the importance of technical school training such as through TVET colleges. Our involvement in the education and training of our youth is also guided by the South African National Development Plan which seeks to improve the quality of education, training and innovation by 2030. We are proud to kick start the 2019 back to school campaign in a district that has shown a remarkable and consistent improvement in matric results for the 2018 calendar year.

This programme will continue in other provinces. In recognition of the dire financial constraints that learners, particularly in the rural areas are faced with, the Central Energy Fund (CEF) has further committed itself to roll-out a bursary scheme for the 2019 academic year and beyond. Through this intervention, the CEF intends to empower learners in these provinces. This bursary scheme will be split into two categories that being the High School Bursary and the Tertiary Institution Bursary.

I would like to encourage different stakeholders present here to continue supporting our learners through different interventions so that the class of 2019 improves from those who wrote Grade 12 in 2018 in this region and indeed everywhere in our country. As Government we have committed ourselves to ensure that no learner or student can be excluded from access to education on account of affordability.  We are encouraged by the fact that the National Matric Results increased from 75,1% in 2017 to 78,2% in 2018. This is effective increase of 3,1%.

Although Limpopo province came last with regards to 2018 matric results, it improved from 67,4% in 2017 to 69,4% in 2018. We are here today to join hands to encourage both this region and the province as a whole to do even much better this year and in the coming years. Today we are at this jurisdiction of Nzhelele West Circuit of the department of education which had 241 of learners who qualified to study bachelor degrees in universities.

I congratulate all the learners who have successfully completed matric and will be going for various training programmes. Let me take this opportunity to wish them the best in their career choices. Some of you are aware of the fourth industrial revolution, which according to the World Economic Forum, over 65% of learners entering the school system today will be in jobs that do not exist today.

This calls for IT focused career development as this is the new trajectory of global economic development. I am very pleased to note that Patrick Ramaano Secondary School which is with us today had 101 learners who qualified to study bachelour degrees. The same school had learners who participated in the department of energy’s Learners Focus Week programme last year in Durban.

The learners, Rotenda Mantsha and Mutshidzi Ganyani, worked hard and were successful candidates who were awarded bursaries. The two learners are now in Grade 12 and their bursaries are waiting for them next year. This is a successful story from the two learners who come from this municipality. Despite financial constraints, as government we will continue to ensure that we invest in the education of our young people.

That is why education remains the highest recipient of budget allocation across all departments since 1994 when we attained our political freedom and democracy. This is because we were inspired by both OR Tambo and former President Nelson Mandela who emphasised the importance of investing in the youth by variously declaring that the single most important investment any country can make is the development of its people. We understand that learners still go through some challenges such as lack of proper school shoes. It is partly for this reason that we are here today to make our contribution by donating 300 pairs of school shoes to needy learners.

These shoes will go a long way and give dignity and comfort to our learners. The Presidential Job Summit which was held in 2018 reflected on the issue of youth unemployment. I urge you to take your studies very seriously so that you curve a career path and ensure that you have technical skills much needed in our economy, now and in the future.  employment. As government we will continue to support entrepreneurship through agencies such as the NYDA, the National Empowerment Fund and so forth.

The Independent Electoral Commission has given another opportunity for those who are not registered to vote. I would like to encourage those who are not yet registered to vote to visit the voting stations on 26 and 27 January 2019. But I must also emphasise that registering to vote can be done even outside those designated days, that is to say, everyday.

I thank all our learners, presenters, educators, partners and exhibitors who heeded our call and supported us in making today a success. I also congratulate all of you who received a new pair of school shoes and thank the CEF, our partner in the back to school campaign – you have provided dignity and pride to our children.

Contact Department of Energy, Tel 012 406-8000, mediadesk@energy.gov.za

 

 

 

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