On the 25th of January, the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI) awarded bursaries to one hundred students intending to pursue a career in the Built industry from various schools across the country.
The 10th anniversary of the DPWI annual bursary ceremony took place at the Kopanong Hotel located in Benoni, and Minister Sihle Zikalala was the one officiating the ceremony. This prestigious event was held in honour of all the beneficiaries who had worked hard throughout their 2023 academic year and intended to join the Built industry as future professionals.
The award ceremony began with a symphony of the national anthem which was followed by the welcoming speech of Siza Sibande who is the head of Property Management Trading Entity within the department. In his speech, he commended the beneficiaries for reaching the first milestone of their careers through completing their matric. He went further to say the DPWI will benefit greatly by investing in the education of young people who will contribute crucial skills to the Built industry. The ceremony progressed with speeches and testimonies of former beneficiaries of the bursary program who are now registered professionals in the Built industry.
Nobuhle Simelane who has been recently registered as a professional Landscape Architectural Technologist raised the issue of skilled professionals such as her not having a platform within the department to contribute and push their careers to the next level, which then leads them to move into the private sector.
The testimonies of Thuthuka Mbhele and Murendeni Liphadzi reiterated the words of Simelane by highlighting the issue of the DPWI losing skilled professionals whom they have nurtured in internship programs, resulting in the DPWI having to out-source such skilled professionals from the private sector. This issue is not only an inconvenience to the skilled professionals who are groomed by the department and have to look for greener pastures but it is also an inconvenience for the department as
they have to settle for some of the whims that skilled professionals from the private sector might put up which in turn disrupts the progress of other projects done by the department.
Liviwe Mhlanganyelwa who is a a learner from Toli Secondary School located in Eastern Cape, stepped up to the podium and gave a speech of gratitude to the Minister as well as the entire department as a
representative of the DPWI bursary recipients.
“With sincere gratitude, we express our deepest thanks to the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure that has changed our lives. As recipients of this bursary we have been allowed to pursue our academic goals and finances,” she expressed.
The principal of Reikaeletse Secondary School also gave other principals who were present at the ceremony pearls of wisdom about teaching their learners discipline which is essential for the next chapter of their academic journey.
After being welcomed to the podium by Deputy Minister Bernice Swartz, the Minister began his keynote address by commending the beneficiaries for their hard work and went on to say that they are the jewel
in the crown. He added to his statement by reflecting upon the transition of education since the demolishing of the apartheid regime and highlighted the plethora of opportunities that are given to young people in terms of education and occupation.
“It is an absolute joy to meet a cohort of young people who come with hope and aspirations for our nation. As we congratulate them for being worthy recipients of our prestigious bursaries from the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure we also extend our appreciation to their parents, guardians, teachers as well as principals,” said the Minister.
At last, all candidates were called to the podium one by one to receive their bursary award certificate, this part of the ceremony was done with an amplified sound of applause commending the beneficiaries
for their hard work as they headed towards the stage. As the ceremony concluded both the Minister and Deputy Minister revealed how they were going to utilize these bursaries to develop the department further and help many other students realize their academic goals.
By Rhulani Fundzama