South Africa: Premier Sihle Zikalala - Handover Ceremony of Shoes to School Children At Greyville Racecourse

press release

Good Morning!

We have gathered here at the Greyville Racecourse which is famous worldwide as a place wherein horses are raced and bets are placed.

Often, here hearts are broken for those who find they have not bet on a winning horse.

For many, this is however a place where dreams are realised and where lives can be changed forever.

I am fully aware that we were supposed to have been meeting at another venue, and we now find ourselves here because of the rather unpredictable conditions.

It is clear that we ended up here for a reason. We are here to warm the hearts of these children and our learners in order to change their lives forever.

Access to shoes, perhaps more than any other indicator, tells how poor or rich a person is. This is so in the poorer communities especially in our rural areas and in vulnerable communities.

It is said that one person in two (or 50%), lives in extreme poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa. Based on this number, there are at least 20 million orphaned children in Sub- Saharan Africa who are without shoes. This by all accounts is major figure.

This means that millions of children are walking around without shoes across our region, our country and in KwaZulu-Natal. When these shoes do exist, they are already in bad condition and are in no shape to be worn.

Ladies and Gentlemen, while many of us have more than one shoe, which we take for granted, many children from poor families grow up without shoes.

Shoes should be declared a basic necessity and it should not be normal for any child to go to school without this basic necessity.

There are many reasons for this. Shoes Prevent Foot Problems like infections. A good shoe is necessary to aid posture and to protect from injuries not only to the feet but to the legs and the rest of the body. The ankles, knees, hip joints and lower back are all affected by bad or no shoes. Widespread pain from bad or no shoes limits mobility, making it difficult to perform normal daily tasks.

Going without shoes exposes one to parasitic worms and other foot infections which may be debilitating or even lethal depending on the infection.

So when we join the campaign for the provision of shoes we are also joining the campaign for the health of our learners.

Importantly, we are also giving dignity back to the learners. We say you too can walk tall. We say you too can achieve all your dreams. You too can be like other children and have a new polished pair of shoes to wear to school.

We wish to congratulate Hollywoodbets which is donating R100 000 towards 650 school shoes for children in the eThekwini region. In recognition of the fact that we now live under conditions of Covid-19, we also welcome the donation of PPE worth R50 000.

We also wish to acknowledge the wonderful and productive collaboration between Hollywoodbets, the Ntenga Foundation and SANTACO for deciding to extend the helping hand to the 30 schools in EThekwini. SANTACO has made it a habit as part of the annual 'Back to School Campaign,' to donate school shoes to the six eThekwini regions in which they operate.

The 30 schools which are the beneficiaries of this programme are in previously disadvantaged areas in EThekwini. We also would like to congratulate the 900 children who from today will be walking tall because they have shoes in the soles of their feet.

Again we congratulate SANTACO, Hollywoodbets and the Ntenga Foundation.

We wish to take this opportunity to call on more organisations in the private sector to raise their hands.

Government is not in a position to close every gap and to meet every need. Our philosophy is that of close collaboration between government, companies and organisations in the private sector working together to rebuild this country brick by brick.

Today's event is one such example of collaboration. We wish to see more and more of these events in the future.

Together Building KwaZulu-Natal.

I thank you!

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