Minister Dipuo Peters: Opening of Onkabetse Care Centre and Ribbon cutting celebration

Onkabetse Founder, Mme Mpho Mazamane;

Ward Councilor, Mr. Richard Maraqana;

PRASA acting CEO, Mme Martha Ngoye;

Nelson Mandela Children Fund Representative;

Officials from All spheres of government;

Business community;

Vosloorus residents;

Members of the media;

Ladies and gentlemen;

I humbly greet you all, Dumelang!! Sanibonani!! Aa!!

Today marks a year and four days since the departure of our beloved leader, the father of our nation, our icon uTata Nelson Mandela. May his soul rest in peace!

As he always acclaimed that “ it is in our hands”. I stand before you today to resonate and attest to this acclamation. As an ANC -led government and the government of the people by the people, we cannot distance ourselves from the plight of our people when they extend their hands and seek our intervention to better the lives of others.

As government we always make a call that together we can do more to ensure that we all benefit from the fruits of our liberation.

We are gathered here today to reward an initiative which is community driven and which aims at benefiting our people, particularly children who were denied admission to day care centres due to their background and misfortunes such as rape victims, HIV positive, Orphans and child headed families.

So, ladies and gentlemen, we are here to reward excellence, selflessness and dedication. What adds further impetus to this day is the fact that it is happening a day before the International Human Rights Day. In 1948, the UN General Assembly adopted and proclaimed the 10th of December as the day the international community observe and celebrate human rights. The intervention by Mme Mpho is an indication that as community members we can do our bit to contribute towards protecting and enhancing human rights of those who are vulnerable and less fortunate.

Ladies and gentlemen

As Nelson Mandela always said “that the true character of a society is revealed in how it treats its children and that our children are our greatest treasure. They are our future and those who abuse them tear at the fabric of our society and weaken our nation”

Subsequently the ANC led government has championed pro-poor policies to integrate our society into one united under our democratic Constitution. We know that to deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity.

We have said in our Constitution that we will “improve the quality of life of all citizens and free the potential of each person; and Build a united and democratic South Africa able to take its rightful place as a sovereign state in the family of nations”. Today we are all gathered to do just that.

Again we are meeting at a time when as a Department, we just launched our festive season road safety campaign two weeks ago in Harrismith. Our key focal areas in this year’s campaign is to:

Targeting alcohol abuse, drug abuse, distracted driving and fatigue;

Targeting excessive speed, dangerous overtaking and all road violations.

Targeting front and rear seatbelts, child restraints and air bags;

Targeting passenger and Freight Transport overload and documentation.

Targeting visibility, drinking and walking, jay walking distracted walking and crossing on freeways.

Lastly, targeting road-worthiness of vehicles and documentation, specifically of number plates.

We will ensure that we get rid of our roads on any distractions that might lead to carnages and the loss of life on our roads.

We also meet during the 16 Days of Activism of No violence against Woman and Children, under the theme “ Count me in” and again on a month where we have awareness of HIV and AIDS pandemic under the theme “Zero Stigma and Discrimination”.

In all these respects, as a government and as a country we are making strides to eliminate the negative consequences of these ills. This will ultimately have a dent on our conscious fight against the triple scourge of inequality, poverty and unemployment.

As I was driving here, I was pondering about in the concept of volunteerism, as we celebrated the International Volunteer Day on the 5th December every year and who epitomize such an ideal example of a chief volunteer in our lifetime and in South Africa. All direction pointed to the founding father of our nation, our icon, our father, leader and volunteer in Chief, President Nelson Mandela who unreservedly volunteered to led Umkhonto Wesizwe, the ANC Military Wing in exile as Volunteer in Chief and again in 1994 agreed to represent our country as the first democratic President and he continued to do so in this death by leaving some of his legacy to the needy.

In his memory and that of many of our heroes and heroines who dedicated their lives to the struggle to liberate all of us from the barbaric apartheid regime, as the Minister of Transport today, I join them in putting a hand to ensure that Onkabetse Care Centre achieves its aims and objectives; that of opening doors to children who are victims of rape, HIV and AIDS, orphans and those from child headed families.

Ladies and gentlemen

Today I am humbled to represent the ANC-led government, the Department of Transport and our Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa, PRASA in opening the revamped Onkabetse Care Centre, PRASA kept to its commitment made in here in August and donated R 1.2 million rands to the Centre. Not only did the Department of Transport donate this money, but government through the Ekurhuleni Metro Police Department has sponsored Onkabetse with a temporary shelter for 105 children and other government departments such as the Department of Social Development, SAPS amongst others, are also continuously lending a helping hand in ensuring that the centre functions properly.

The centre is nominated to be the beneficiary of the annual PRASA sponsored programme in honour of uTata Madiba and as part of the Mandela day legacy. This gesture is also an illustration that government commitment to the betterment of the lives of our people through corporate social investment is a reality.

In-line with government policy and procedure, the centre will have to comply with relevant government policy, governing sponsorship including being audited at the end of the financial year and any other duly recognized financial regulations.

I take this opportunity to thank the management and leadership of PRASA, led by the CEO, Mr Lucky Montana, for ensuring that we live-up to our commitment we made to the centre to ensure that our children are not subjected to humiliation and inhuman conditions.

To my sister, Mme Mpho Mazamane, I thank you for extending your heart to all these children who are in your care. May God’s wisdom guide you through all your endeavours.

In February 2007, you defied all odds and conquered your far and established this centre. As Madiba said “ I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear”.

Here we are today, gathered to celebrate the benefits of your courage, that of your team and sponsors from the public and the private sector. You indeed gave these children love, laughter and peace.

Be rest assured that government will always respond positively when ordinary South Africans join government in its quest to better the lives of the people. Our struggle has always been about others.

It is my contention that through our sponsorship, you should be able to reach your desired objective that of extending the hand to more children out there who might need services of the centre. This includes the provision of a safe and secured environment where you conduct your daily chores.

Your example must serve as a guiding light and bicorn of hope to the many other citizens that self-initiatives are rewarded and also can be sustained for the many years that you have since established the Onkabetse Care Centre. You never failed to live-up to the African affirmation that “Mme otshwara thipa ka bo haleng”. Re ya ho le boha Mme wasebele and all those you are working with to realize this objective.

Ladies and gentlemen

It is my desire that all South Africans should emulate Tata Madiba and Mme Mpho Mazamane and do something good for those who are less fortunate than them as we have learnt from our fore-bearers.

I also extend my appreciation to the business community which always ensures that the centre continues to provide their most needed services to our community. As government we have always advocated for public private partnerships in insuring that we better the lives of our people. The continuous support from the private sector is appreciated. We furthermore, call upon the private sector to support as many other organisations which seek to improve the lives of our people. Your efforts will always be appreciated.

Let us all united in our purpose and say loudly:

“ No abuse against woman and children”

“Obey the rules of the road”

‘ Road safety is everybody’s business”

“Let battle up”

“Let us all arrive alive”

I thank you.