MEC salutes school principals in UGU District, 22 March 2017

In commemoration of ‘Human Rights’ day and Human Rights month, on the 22nd of March 2017, MEC for Human Settlements and Public Works, Mr Ravi Pillay, together with local stakeholders visited two schools from Ward 8 of Umuziwabantu Municipality, Ugu District. He visited Gayiga Primary and Jolwayo Secondary schools as a part of the government initiative to strengthen and sustain the presence of Operation Sukuma Sakhe (OSS). The initiative creates a bridge of communication between the community and local government in order that emerging problems are eliminated. ‘OSS’ has taken a prominent approach to education in making sure that the South African youth receive education for a better future.

The MEC first visited Gayiga Primary school where he was impressed by the leadership of the principal, Mrs Sikhosane. She had implemented many programmes for the learners, namely, a dental care facility for lower grades in teaching them to brush their teeth even during school hours as well as a nutrition programme, which enables learners to eat healthy meals at school. Mrs Sikhosane has also implemented a programme that deals with some of the social ills of learners, with special attention to children indulging in drugs and substance abuse, early teenage pregnancies and bunking school classes. She has been inspirational to the coordination and management in the supply of sanitary pads to female learners, especially those that are in dire need. Mr Pillay appreciated the principal for her pride in her school. He extended his appreciation to her and her team and said “these are the kinds of things that inspire greatness in the learners”.

MEC Ravi Pillay congratulating Mrs Sikhosane (above left) while doing the same to Mrs Mnini, the principal of Jolwayo Secondary School (above right)

The second stop was at Jolwayo Secondary school where the delegation was amazed by the level of enthusiasm and zeal from the principal, Mrs Mnini. She had an avid support from the community as well as members of the schools governing body. The schools mathematics marks had risen from a 15,31% mark in 2015 to 71,43% in 2016. Mrs Mnini exclaimed that in 2017 the schools aim is 100% of which pleased the MEC and all guests in attendance.

While both schools had their individual concerns to raise, both principals had plans in place respectively in fixing these matters. It was confirmed that both schools enhanced their inter-departmental relations with other partner departments and this proved to be a viable way in resolving many problems.

The day ended with a community engagement where community members came in numbers to participate as the MEC addressed them, as well as to share their concerns. The debates were heated as they came from the community, however, the MEC reassured all that “we are honest with our people; we come up with solutions together with our people”. He also made a commitment that he will look at all the concerns raised, in collaboration with the municipality, where after an answer shall be given to them by the end of April 2017.

A full house of community members listening to MEC Ravi Pillay’s’ address

A full house of community members listening to MEC Ravi Pillay’s’ address

What emanated in the day, overall, is the concept of Operation Sukuma Sakhe, in how many of the State Departments continue working hand-in-hand with the community and the schools. The essence is for ‘OSS’ to ensuring quality education, the implementation of school gardens, counselling for learners that require such, as well as health care education for learners and communities to avoid unwanted pregnancies and disease.

In conclusion, it leaves the local government to realise how well Operation Sukuma Sakhe campaign has yielded results in so many of the schools within communities. A few representatives from Namibia were a part of this journey in coming to South Africa to learn about this powerful initiative with the aims of implementing something similar in Namibia. It is testimony that the initiative has received a positive recognition all over the country, even beyond the borders of our country.


Message from the MEC
Public Works employs a variety of communications tools to engage its stakeholder community. Since websites are usually the first port of call, the Department seeks to maintain a site with up to date content that is of value to our diverse audiences.
Mr Ravigasen Ranganathan Pillay


Private Bag X9142, Pietermaritzburg, 3200

Tel no: 033 355 5500

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