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Northern Cape Provincial Community Builder of the Year Awards Ceremony

Keynote Address by the Deputy Minister of Social Development Mrs Maria Bongi Ntuli, MP on the occasion of the Northern Cape Provincial Community Builder of the Year Awards Ceremony, Kimberley- Northern Cape

02 December 2011

Master of Ceremonies, Ms E Botes

Honourable Premier Hazel Jenkins

Honourable MEC for Social Development, Mr Alvin Botes

Member of the Provincial Legislature and Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Social Development, Mr A Beukes

Local Councillors and community leaders here present

Senior Government Officials from various departments

Representatives of our various Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and Community-Based Organisations (CBOs)

Our community development workers

All nominated individuals for this evening’s awards ceremony

Distinguished guests

Members of the media

Ladies and Gentlemen

Dumelang Bagaetsho! Le kae?

I am honoured to have been asked to speak at this wonderful occasion of the 2011 Northern Cape provincial Community Builders of the Year Awards. Let me from the outset express a big thank you to the pioneers of the Community Builder Awards. The late Dr Aggrey Klaaste and the late Sam Mabe have in their own way contributed to the common goal of nation-building. Their dedication to community development continues to inspire us to work towards the common good of our society.

October has been declared Social Development Month. It is therefore befitting that we are gathered here to honour courageous men and women who work selflessly to improve the living conditions of our communities.

This is a very special occasion to me because community development is close to my heart. I was therefore excited when I received the invitation to be part of this noble cause. It is these types of occasions where we celebrate the work of ordinary men and women who do extraordinary work in helping us to build strong families and communities that make us proud as a nation- proudly South Africans.

Guided by the Constitution and the Freedom Charter, our government under the leadership of the African National Congress (ANC) has and continue to work relentlessly to improve the living conditions of the majority of our people. Our movement was founded on the proud history of community activism as illustrated in the work of Albert Luthuli, Oliver Tambo, Tata Nelson Mandela, Ellen Khuzwayo, Francis Baard and Sol Plaatjie, after whom this Municipality was named.

The Community Builder of the Year Awards that we are hosting this evening will certainly go a long way in advancing the proud culture of our movement. I take this opportunity to salute and honour men and women who are making a meaningful contribution to the lives of our people by dedicating their energy to building, serving and developing our communities.

Ladies and gentlemen, it goes without saying that a province like Northern Cape which suffered immensely under the apartheid, needs more courageous men and women who are committed to work together with our government to restore the dignity of our people.

It is for this reason that today I urge individuals, Non-Governmental Organisations, Faith-Based Organisations, Community-Based Organisations and the private sector to join hands with us in our quest to rebuild this province and the rest of our country.

Distinguished guests, our efforts to meet the basic needs of the country's poor and marginalised, is gathering pace with progress recorded across a range of important sectors. Despite challenges in a number of areas, there is no doubt that your interventions to assist government in directly addressing poverty and under-development are continuing to benefit greater numbers of South Africans.

But we must continue to ensure that as we lift our people out of the depths of poverty, we exert that extra effort in empowering our rural poor and advance the economic development of rural areas. This is one of our greatest challenges.

While acknowledging that progress has been made in nation-building, much more work needs to be done to free our people from the shackles of poverty and its associated challenges of HIV and AIDS, underdevelopment and unemployment, particularly among our young people.

To this end we must, during this Social Development Month create greater public awareness about various government programmes and interventions that are aimed at lifting our people out of poverty. As we do so, we must also engage our communities in the process of development in order to build a sense of a shared vision to and a better life for all our people

In conclusion, Programme Director, let us all remember that the dream lives on whenever we reach out to feed the hungry and house the homeless. It grows whenever people of different races and religions work and pray and break bread together at the table of brotherhood and sisterhood. Let us join together, united and determined to build a beloved community rooted in a radiant spirit of justice, compassion and love.

In the spirit of the founders of the Community Builder Awards-the late Aggrey Klaaste and Sam Mabe, let us embrace a new and energetic commitment to serve our people. The dream lives on in our hearts when we struggle for a better life for all. Let me once again offer my congratulations and gratitude to all the nominees for the Community Builder of the Year Awards for your commitment, for challenges conquered, for projects completed, for goals reached and even surpassed.

I say well done to all the nominated individuals who have made it thus far. You have shown that you share my passion and the country’s vision of building a caring society.

I thank you for allowing me to share with you in honouring community
builders, men and women who are beacons of hope on the path to a better life for

Working together we can do more to improve the lives of our communities.

I thank you.

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