President of the Republic, President Jacob Zuma, Minister of Higher Education, Blade Nzimande,
Chairperson of the interim council of Sefako Makgatho University, Professor Olive Shisana,
Members of the Makgatho family, Esteemed guests,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Allow me to extend warmest greetings on behalf of the people and the provincial government of Gauteng.
I am greatly honoured to be part of this august occasion.
Today we are privileged to be marking a milestone in the history of Higher Education in South Africa, while also paying tribute and honouring one of the heroes of our liberation struggle.
This momentous occasion of unveiling the Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University takes place a week before we celebrate freedom Day.
This Sefako Makgato and many other South Africans fought hard and made many sacrifices for this freedom. It therefore more fitting that we chose this month to honour Sefako Makgatho by naming this higher learning institution after him. Sefako Makgatho, a teacher by profession, contributed a great deal in the education of South Africans.
Those who will walk through these doors to further their studies should be inspired by this selfless man who dedicated his life to creating a united, non-racial, non-sexist and democratic South Africa.
Over the past weeks South Africans have been engaged in public debate around the issue of transformation of our higher learning institutions. The debate once again raised sharply the need to hasten the process of social transformation.
The process of social transformation requires all of us to focus on building a united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous South Africa. While the Gauteng Provincial Government welcomes this public debate we condemn in the gest possible terms the vandalisation of statues and other public property in the name of activism for social transformation.
We urge all South Africans to act responsibly as they raise their concerns on the slow process of transformation in our country.
Ladies and gentlemen
Education not only improves the quality of people’s lives, which leads to broad social benefits for individuals and society, but also plays a big role in the development of a country.
In the words of the late former statesman Nelson Mandela: “No nation can hope to develop unless if its citizens are educated”. Therefore, by investing in education we are investing in the development of the country.
Ladies and gentlemen
This institution will introduce new academic offerings such as biomedical technology, bioengineering, medical informatics and veterinary science, in addition to training medical and allied health sciences professionals.
Furthermore, the Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University will focus mainly on teaching, research and community engagement.
We applaud the Minister of Higher Education, Blade Nzimande, for staying true to his word when he committed the Department in 2011 that this institution would open its doors of learning at the beginning of the 2015 academic year.
As such, this institution was opened for business in January and we have heard nothing but good reviews about it and we hope it stays that way.
We hope this institution will produce the leaders of the future who, like Sefako Makgatho, will value education show patriotism and show concern for the greater good of the communities they live in.
Issued by: Gauteng Office of the Premier
Source : South African Government