ohannesburg Executive Mayor Councillor Parks Tau on Thursday August 6 handed over a cheque for R2-million to the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) Education Trust to assist it in funding the education of children of force members who were killed in the line of duty.
The money was raised during last year’s Mayoral Golf Day, which featured several high-profile personalities, sporting figures and government leaders. The cheque was accepted by General Solly Shoke, the Chief of the SANDF, at a handover function held at the Metro Centre in Braamfontein on behalf of the trust.
Mayor Tau put a smile on the faces of the SANDF contingent when he announced that the proceeds from this year’s Mayoral Golf Day would also be channelled to the trust. The Mayoral Golf Day is an annual event aimed at boosting the Johannesburg Mayoral Fund that supports various charities, community projects and programmes around the city.
The fund was established in 2005 by former Executive Mayor Councillor Amos Masondo.
The SANDF Education Trust, the brainchild of Gen Shoke, was established in the aftermath of the tragic events that led to the killing of 14 SANDF members in the line of duty in the Central African Republic and following a fatal helicopter crash in the Kruger National Park in 2013.
Speaking at Thursday’s handover ceremony, Mayor Tau said he hoped the “small contribution” the City had made would help to build a learning nation and create tomorrow’s leaders. He said the mayoral fund had previously contributed to HIV-Aids programmes.
Mayor Tau applauded all the contributors to the fund for ensuring that “our children’s future is secure”.
Accepting the R2-million cheque, Gen Shoke said the donation was the best way to honour the memory of those who died while serving the country.
“Most of those killed were young men who left behind young children. We felt the best way to ensure that their children did not become destitute was to establish this trust,” he said.
At present the trust funds the education of 93 learners and students.
Speaking on behalf of the sponsors, Standard Bank’s Mthokozisi Dlamini said the banking group did not hesitate when asked to back the mayoral fund as this was in line with its ethos of supporting education.
“We know how education can bridge the class gap and help in dealing with challenges of poverty. We also know that education drives the development of the middle class, which is good news for the bank,” he said.