11 September 2020

Chairperson of the NLC.
The Executive management of NLC.
The beneficiaries of ECD Centres.
Programme Director.

I want to thank you for inviting me in this important occasion. It is pleasing that our Agencies such as National Lottery Commission (NLC) continues to put developmental objectives of our communities at the centre of their agenda whilst remaining true to its core mandate to deliver on Lottery services.

Your record as National Lottery Commission in funding good causes that impact significantly on social justice to our people speaks for itself. This has been the case for a long time since as a Commission, you were established. To date, there are very few Children Homes, Old Age Homes, Disabled Care Centres and other Social Welfare Centers across the country who have never received financial support to sustained these welfare centres, on a continuous basis to take care of the vulnerable in society, including the funding of infrastructure built for these institutions.

It is from the above token that today we are, once again, here to congratulate the National Lottery Commission for building these ECD Centres which undoubtedly will play a crucial role in the education for our children, making sure that they attend to the state-of-the -art institutions, that are safe for their vulnerable age. I am even more excited by the choices of places that these centres are built which is the remote areas, thereby giving children in these communities solid foundation for education. The Department of Basic Education has done a lot of work in taking over fully the ECD centres so that seamless progression of children from this level to foundation phase is realized. If there is one important area that we must pull our efforts to invest on, is education. In the 21st century, we should not be talking about children who cannot go to ECD phase because they are living in far flung areas. ECD centers and schools must be in every settlement in this country, and be within a reasonable distance. There is no nation that can develop without educated citizens. As our founding democratic President, Nelson Mandela, once said:

Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world…. The power of education extends beyond the development of skills we need for economic success. It can contribute to nation-building and reconciliation

It for this reason that we commend NLC for this effort to make a contribution to the advancement of education by way of infrastructure built.

Unfortunately we are living in a country where there are very few players in the funding of Social Welfare spaces for greater good. We have a big companies whose Corporate Social Responsibility is merely a tick box on the very shallow social causes. Many of the big enterprises still fund very elitist social projects such as rugby grounds and cricket pitches in the leafy suburbs. We need to have a real conversation as a country on the real commitment of the corporates in joining hands with government and Non-State Actors such as NGOs in playing a significant role in development of our societies.  The biggest problem we face is the refusal or social investment strike by companies to meaningful development to our needy. This corporate investment strike is even seen from companies operating closer to rural communities, in rural and small towns which is where they derive their existence.

Until such time that the private sector appreciates that the role of developing this country from its third world position to a developed one does not rest only with government but critically with the business that should be patriotic enough to build infrastructure, communities development, invest on education for the poor and create opportunities for the poorest youth, the employment. Countries which have succeeded in the past five decades have done so through a strong central state with private sector investing where government direct them, for purposes of development.

National Lottery Commission must continue to immerse itself to the development of society from the proceeds received from the Lottery services. As NLC, you can justify your existence and relevance through making a meaningful mark in our poor communities and vulnerable sections of our society.

I take this opportunity to congratulate the beneficiaries of these ECDs and implore you that you look after these institutions and ensure that communities becomes security to them so that they are not vandalized.

I thank you.

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