Launch of the New University

The day has come. It is the start of a dream come true for all the people of the Northern Cape and beyond. Today I am testimony to the realization of the long awaited university- a learning institution right here on the soil of the Northern Cape.

I Sylvia Lucas not only in my capacity as the Premier of this great province, but also a child and parent have the immense pleasure to welcome each and everyone present here today to this auspicious occasion. And when I say auspicious I truly mean it. It is a very special day in the history of the province. We gather to celebrate an important occasion for the people of the province and the future of the province.

It would have seemed inconceivable to people a few years ago when we actively started to plan and solicit funding for our very own university. And today we bear witness to that impossibility becoming reality. There’s an energy here that can’t be denied. It is the energy that comes from acting on ideals.

Many a great leader has asserted that a nation that does not invest in its youth and its human resources - does not have a future! Today is testimony of Governments’ commitment to invest in our young people- the leaders of tomorrow and the future.

The Northern Cape is rising. There is no question that we are on the move. The establishment of a university affords our children the opportunity to be the masters of their own destiny. You get to decide what kind of future you want.

More than 60 percent of South Africans are under the age of 35. Young people will determine the fate of this province and this country. Ours must be a society in which every child matters and their talents are nurtured to enable them to become the best that they can be.

Today, we are also celebrating for another important reason - In the course of the overall development of our country and province, the shared and common goals of all of us require a common approach and 'battle'. We are grateful that we have had committed partners in the realization of this project in some of South Africa's leading business entities. Our country and province need more of these types of partners to achieve our desired goals of a growing and prosperous South Africa.

The seeds of a future prosperous Northern Cape Province have been laid and will certainly develop scores of leaders and quality leadership in the socio-economic spheres for both civil society and business. The seeds for such a future are the investments we make in the educational opportunities of our people to secure the future of children and future generations!

We are grateful to be in a position today, to celebrate the launch of an institution of higher education in the Northern Cape. We earnestly believe that the founding of this institution will aid our search for wisdom and the information-laden intelligence that has become an indispensable part of the twenty-first century.

We hope that through this institution we can develop the skills and knowledge that are particular to the needs of the people of the Northern Cape and those of our country at large.

This landmark achievement has been made possible by a number of people and players. At this point let me thank those who have been the catalysts, including the many other important backroom players, continuously contributing towards the realization of this dream. Many have played various roles and to them we would like to express our heartfelt gratitude.

The new management and leadership of the institute - thanks to you too for the brave stance you took and support you lent towards the project. The departmental and other specialist people who provided advise and assisted with the shaping of the project - you too deserve mention.

Indeed, this project speaks to the fact that we as government are on course in respect of our desired goal of achieving a measure of equilibrium and a more than modest success rate in our human resource enrichment strategy.

The results of the matriculants in the past few years have also given us more reason to believe in the potential and reality of the project. That we are confronted with the challenge of matching the demands of the economy with our human capacity, are aptly demonstrated by skewed human and economic developments found.

The overall thrust of our strategy for human resources development speaks particularly of the question of educating our people so that they are equipped to ably and confidently participate in the socio-economic development of our province and country and by so doing help us all work towards the creation of 'A Better Life For All!

The founding of this reservoir of learning, wisdom and intelligence demonstrates the commitment of our government in creating an environment and infrastructure that is geared towards the fulfilment of the creative and artistic potential of our people.

This, in our view, is the sharp end of the spear by which we will puncture the veil of ignorance and poverty.

Ladies and gentlemen, the launch of this institution signifies the process of reconstruction and development that our country has embarked upon. It also embodies the transformation of our education system into a united, democratic, non-racial and non-sexist entity. It signifies an education system whose sole purpose would be to meet the learning needs of our citizens and the needs of our society and economy as a whole.

There is indeed no turning back!

The launch of this Institute of Higher Education in the Northern Cape is an exciting challenge and provides a unique opportunity for us to develop the intellectual capacity of our people to meet the high-level of human resource needs of the new millennium. In a nutshell to help them contribute to the functioning of modern industrial society.

I am sure that you will agree with me that this momentous achievement represents a victory for the people of the Northern Cape and will have a tremendous impact on our communities.

We are also hopeful that this institution's founding heralds much more progress and development and the maturation of our province as a centre of excellence and human achievement.

Ladies and Gentlemen, this institute will be well positioned to offer opportunities for the people of our province to create an economically and intellectually prosperous society. It will truly contribute to the social, economic and political challenge that faces our country and province in particular.

There is no doubt that we have turned the corner and are forging an education institution that will be accessible to all that will instil the values of democracy and equality, and improve our quality of life.

In order for us to meet the challenges of the new millennium, it is critical for us to have in place a modern, quality higher education system that will provide advanced skills and scientific knowledge to us.

For us to reach those desired levels of progress and modernisation we need to constantly expand our pool of skilled labour and to simultaneously also attract both domestic and foreign investment.

Programme Director, the Northern Cape Provincial Government is dedicated to the belief that equal educational opportunity and a strong higher education system are essential cornerstones of a democratic society and has the potential to contribute to the quality of life of all South Africans.

As we forge ahead positively through new territory, I am optimistic that the Institute for Higher Education is indeed well placed to meet the challenges of the rapid global economy.

With these few words I cannot express our excitement and gratitude to all role players who made this day possible.  On behalf of the people of the Northern Cape I bid you all a warm welcome and trust that you will be a constant companion of the people of the Northern Cape as we embark on this exiting new journey.

I thank you.

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Kimberley 
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