Today is an exciting day for the Democratic Alliance and yourselves.  This day, the Democratic Alliance commences its national “adopt a school” campaign and it is the launch of the campaign in the province today.

It is indeed an honour and privilege for the DA branch of the Port Elizabeth West constituency to be the first launching this campaign in the province.

Ladies, gentlemen and pupils, as you are all aware education is the most fundamental tool to the success of anything in life.

Without an education, a person is doomed.

Education is about investing in the future — future of our children — who gain future knowledge and skills; who in future bring those skills and knowledge to the economy of this country and the world for the benefit of everyone.

With Education consuming the largest portion of both the national and provincial budgets one would expect to have the management of schools doing what they are empowered to do-educate pupils.

However, this is not happening in this province. With shocking matric results this past year, appalling school facilities in most schools, low teacher morale, lack of education resources, and an uncaring and ineptly managed Education department.

However, ladies and gentlemen, there are many stars and unsung heroes in the teaching profession.

One of these is the principal of Philip Nikiwe School, Mrs Rebecca Makeng and her staff.

Rebecca has been head at this school since 2004 and like many others has had to run this school under appallingly difficult circumstances.

Despite many requests for equipment and the like to the Education department over the years many of these have been ignored and Rebecca and her team have soldiered on regardless.

To you Rebecca we salute and applaud you and your team for the difference you are making to the lives of these children.

Folks, the DA is committed to long term interventions into bettering education in this province.

This ceremony today is not a one off token gesture. On this coming Saturday a team will be coming to the school to paint and start renovating the school hall.

After this, there will be a monthly intervention by the DA in this constituency in consultation with Rebecca and her team as to how we proceed.

We look forward to looking back a year from now to see progress made at the school.

Ladies and gentlemen & pupils, imagine the impact this campaign is having country wide.

With every DA constituency country wide adopting a school and assisting with small interventions as is being done here, the DA will be creating several opportunities for improved schooling both in this province and nationally on a sustained basis.

The seriousness of this campaign has not been underestimated by the many businesses and donors in the Metro who have joined us in this vision and realised the importance of educating the future of this country.

We are grateful to Mr. Danie Hugo of Walton’s Stationary, who is donating each child a small stationary pack. Brian Bands Sports have donated several soccer- and rugby balls and cricket wickets while Plascon Paints have donated paint for the school.

The DA also thanks LG Harris paint brush manufacturers for their donations of paint and brushes, Sunridge Super Spar for their assistance with tuck for the children and SASKO Grain for donation of cereal porridges to the school.

To each of the companies we say thank you for your vision, foresight and investment into the future of this school and these young lives.

Pupils: work hard, listen in class, gain knowledge-remember-no one can ever take away the knowledge you obtain.

I thank you all.

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