Church initiative gets political clout

HIGH-POWERED: Guest speakers, from left, councillor Jonathan Lawack, national auditor-general Kimi Makwetu, Uitenhage-born Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas and Eastern Cape premier Phumulo Masualle at the St Simon of Cyrene Anglican Church gala dinner  Picture: TREMAINE VAN AARDT
HIGH-POWERED: Guest speakers, from left, councillor Jonathan Lawack, national auditor-general Kimi Makwetu,Uitenhage-born Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas and Eastern Cape premier Phumulo Masualle at the St Simon of Cyrene Anglican Church gala dinner
Picture: TREMAINE VAN AARDT

Politicians, auditor-general back education centre plan

Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas, Eastern Cape premier Phumulo Masualle and auditor-general Kimi Makwetu have thrown their weight behind a Uitenhage parish’s efforts to build an educational centre for the underprivileged in the town.

They were guest speakers at the St Simon of Cyrene gala dinner held at the Volkswagen Auto Pavilion on Friday.

Opening speaker Jonas commended the church on its plan and reminded the parish of its pivotal role in improving the lives of its communities.

Speaking less than 48 hours before it emerged he was being investigated by the Hawks in a case of corruption involving SAA Technical, he said that in certain aspects the role of the church superseded that of the government because the church had more credibility.

“The community leadership structures which once existed are seemingly gone … and it has fallen on the church to take the role of these leadership structures,” Jonas said.

“The fact that you [church] have brought the auditor-general, the premier and myself to Uitenhage illustrates that influence.

“But something like education is not a political issue, as people have tried to make it, because the government does not reach everyone.

“Communities at times struggle to trust the government because we are fast losing our credibility.”

Churches were uniquely placed because communities trusted the church, he said.

“The credibility allows the church to mobilise the community in a way which addresses the problems of poverty and inequality, which can only be resolved through education,” Jonas said.

“The community needs to take charge of education.

“With that said, we will play our role and do what needs to be done to take this project forward.”

The gala dinner was to help raise funds for the planned education centre on the church premises in Gambleville, which will accommodate grades RR and R classes.

The church hopes to eventually expand the centre to accommodate skills projects in support of economic development.

It aims to have the centre open by July. Masualle said: “This is a very noble objective.

“I must add that the family environment also plays a serious role in the success of a child’s future.

“Through partnerships like this we can increase the lot of our schools.

“My office will provide whatever support we are able to.

“With a committed, dynamic leadership, this project is certain to succeed – and this initiative by the church augments such efforts.”

Makwetu spoke on the importance of accountability and its crucial role in directing community efforts, such as the church’s project.

“Personal accountability at all levels is crucial because a society without it cannot succeed,” he said.

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