Speech delivered by Deputy Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, Ms Rejoice Mabudafhasi during the launch of the Fognet Project, Mphephu Resort, Limpopo
25 Aug 2010
Honourable Executive Mayors: Vho-Thivhulawi Makumbane, Vho- A Tshikalange, Vho-Falaza Mdaka
Local Mayor Vho-LuruliMahosi (chiefs) Vho-Netshiavha, Vho-Nevondo, Vho-Khakhu Magota (headmen)
Chief Executive Officer of SAWS Dr Linda Makuleni
Professors Hannes Rautenbach and Jana Olivier from the University of Pretoria
Representative from the Limpopo Provincial Government
Principals and educators from local schools
Members of the community
Members of the media
Ladies and gentlemen
It is a pleasure for me to be here today, to launch the Fognet Project. This project is our intervention to provide water to communities without access to water without impacting on environment. The objective of the project is to utilise natural resources and in this instance it is weather related to meet the needs of the communities. Water is one of the scarce and critical resources for all of us, as the Ministry of Water and Environmental Affairs we are thrilled and encouraged to become aware of scientific potentials to address social problems. I must commend the researchers who have been involved in this project, Professors Olivier, Van Heerden, Rautenbach and others who are not here today, as well as the people from Vondo village where Tshanowa School is situated, and from Tshiavha village, who embraced the project and worked closely with the University of Pretoria to ensure its success.
In the recent years, we have all been listening and hearing about the effects of climate change and how it impacts on our day to day lives. We are learning new ways to do things in order to ensure we protect natural resources for them to continue to sustain us, I must say it is encouraging to know that there are more opportunities to improve livelihoods in ways that are not harmful to the environment. These are initiatives that as government we would like to see expanded further as much as possible.
The University of Pretoria has been working with the South African Weather Service for years on several projects, and one that I would like to emphasise is on capacity building. The bursary scheme that SAWS provides to students enrolled towards Meteorology, is helping us to bridge the gaps in terms of qualified meteorologists.
I therefore urge schools here today to utilise the opportunities available, identify gaps in careers, where the country does not have enough capacity and ensure learning and teaching in the classroom prepares students towards such careers.
I am told this event is linked to a two days career workshop through which learners are exposed to different scientific experiments in order to be familiarised with the process involved in preparing predictions and weather reports. I must commend SAWS for the efforts they are taking to ensure that Meteorological Science is understood and its benefits are known by communities at large.
When looking at the series of natural disasters all over the world, it is alarming to note that large percentage of those is from weather related events and with better understanding of the warnings, to an extent, lives could be saved. I am hoping that this launch will draw expertise and resources and form partnerships to ensure that the needs of the communities we serve are addressed in a seamless manner. I am happy that the municipalities are well represented and hope that relevant structures will start getting involved and work together in order to do more. Mahosi (chiefs) who are here today, I am humbled and encouraged and believe that communities will take ownership towards these projects to ensure sustainability.
I am told we will be proceeding to see the Fognet at Tshanowa School; I am calling upon our stakeholders to consider contributions and partnering with expertise to expand these projects.
Programme director, without taking much time, let me extend our gratitude as government to the University of Pretoria, the South African Weather Service, stakeholders, Thulamela Municipality, Vondo and Tshiavha communities and the schools involved for the work being done, I am certain that during my next visit to this area there will be even more developments
I thank you.
Source: Department of Environmental Affairs
Issued by: Department of Environmental Affairs
25 Aug 2010
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