The new academic year got off to a great start in Ratanda when the MEC (Member of Executive Committee) for Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation, Ms Mbali Hlophe visited schools in the area.

The tour was joined by officials from the provincial department, including local politicians and the district’s education representatives.

After greeting the learners of Kgoro Ya Thuto Secondary School, MEC Hlophe said that their visit is not only to motivate them but to also include them in the development of the province. “You are very lucky to be living in this province. Gauteng is an economic hub. This means this province is the ‘heart’ of the country, also on the continent. We are the land of plenty,” she said.

The MEC also noted that the province is doing well in the matric results, however, Gauteng recorded 0.65% decline in its results from 87.88% in 2018 to an 87.23% pass rate in 2019. “If we look deeply at our results, we see there are challenges that we as government and educators need to fix alike,” responded MEC Hlophe.

She said the premier of the province, David Makhura has indicated that young people must be assisted in any field they want to pursue. In that regard, she spoke to the learners about various fields within her department that range from sports to entertainment.

Gauteng Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation MEC Mbali Hlophe addressing learners of Kgoro Ya Thuto Secondary School in Ratanda during the provincial government’s ‘Back-to-School’ tour accompanied by officials from Lesedi Municipality.

“Not everybody has an interest in universities. Some of you may want to be soccer or netball players, or be in entertainment and so forth. We are here to tell you about the different opportunities that make it all possible. In the department, we speak about what we call the ‘Sports Economy’ or the ‘Business of Sports’,” she explained. The MEC further elaborated to say that in sports, one does not have to only be a player but also there are many fields to participate in. “There is also the administration part of it,” she said. In that regard, the SASCOC leadership was invited to attend the back-to-school tour.

After her address to the high school learners, the MEC unveiled brand new sporting and musical equipment for the school. The gifts also included a book tray with books to encourage literacy.

“These are the things that are meant to assist you,” said the MEC. She said the department will launch as the Sports and Arts Development programme where they bring experts and legends to work closely with them.

MEC Hlophe along with the Lesedi Local Municipality Executive Mayor Cllr. Lerato Maloka, planted trees in the school’s yard to conclude the visit. The tour also made stops at the Thandisizwe ECD (Early Childhood Development) centre at Ratanda Extension 5.

On the next day, Gauteng Department of Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation officials including the political leadership from Lesedi Municipality continued the Back-to-School tour with visits to Bertha Gxowa and Lethabo-Siyanqoba (both primary schools) in extension 23. They handed over sporting equipment and book trays to the learners.

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