By Sello Tang 

  • Dr. Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu, Deputy Minister of Social Development, spreads cheer as she presents computers and office furniture to Madadeni schools.
  • Muzikayise Primary and Sekusile Secondary Schools benefit from the donation, with learners urged to enhance their digital skills for the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
  • Dr. Bogopane-Zulu concludes the day’s outreach by donating uniforms to disabled learners and encouraging teachers to become role models in pursuit of professional certification.

It was ululations and cheerfulness from learners, parents and teachers as Dr Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu, the Deputy Minister of Social Development, on 4th March 2024, presented 25 computers and renovated office furniture to two schools located in Madadeni, near Newcastle.

The schools that received the donations are Muzikayise Primary School and Sekusile Secondary School. Deputy Minister Dr Bogopane-Zulu stated that the ruling party and government anticipate learners to make use of the donated computers to enhance their digital skills, aligning themselves with the demands of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

“Please stay away from alcohol and substance abuse and take advantage of these kinds of digital opportunities to uplift yourselves,” said Dr Bogopane-Zulu to learners. 

The Deputy Minister Dr Bogopane-Zulu, in collaboration with the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA), wrapped up today’s outreach activities at the Bergsig Special School in eMadlangeni Local Municipality, where she donated 300 full uniforms to qualifying learners with disability.  Learners with disability from Umlando Omusha Primary School also in eMadlangeni Municipality benefited from the donation of uniforms.

Dr Bogopane-Zulu encouraged the teachers at these special schools to register and pursue a professional Facilitator Certificate, enabling them to serve as role models for learners with special needs. She highlighted that the Department of Education has provided an opportunity for individuals with special needs to access the same courses and skills as those without disabilities.

“Don’t undermine what these kids can become and achieve when they grow up. You need to be their motivators and role models and learn towards seizing opportunities in the formal corporate world,” said Dr Bogopane-Zulu, emphasising that parents of learners with disabilities should also play an active role in the educational growth of their children.

“We need to see these learners also being able to obtain technical skills and being able to get access to institutions of higher education,” she said. Dr Bogopane-Zulu is the District Development Model (DDM) champion of Amajuba District Municipality, KwaZulu-Natal.

The handover of uniforms and computers to schools was part of the Department of Social Development’s Back-to-School Programme. The initiative is also an effort to bridge the digital divide towards the fourth industrial revolution. Digitisation has reshaped the global economy, and the handover of computers was expected to act as a catalyst for children in rural communities to receive equal opportunities to Information Communication Technology (ICT) as their counterparts in well-off areas. The distribution of uniforms also seeks to uphold the dignity of pupils and learners participating in SASSA’s programme known as Social Relief of Distress. Through this initiative, deserving learners in need receive school uniforms from the Agency.   

The District Development Model is a vehicle to ensure that service delivery is re-focused and implementation is strengthened through a well-coordinated and coherent national programme of action. The District Development Model aims to coordinate a government response to challenges of poverty, unemployment, and inequality particularly amongst women, youth and people living with disabilities. Throughout the day’s community outreach, Dr. Bogopane-Zulu was joined by members of the KwaZulu-Natal Legislature, mayors from participating municipalities, and councillors.


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