The Capital’s Inclusive Mindset Paves Way For Excellence

The reoccurring intention at the City of Tshwane Bursary handover ceremony was to pay good deeds forward in any way possible. This was perfectly illustrated by Cllr Hendrik Nortje when he stated that “one hand must wash the other”, because we should not work in silos. It is important that we work with an all-inclusive mindset, never excluding anyone and always moving forward in a way that ignites excellence.

On the 23rd of August 2022 MaxProf and EST Sourcing representatives prepared for the day’s proceedings with much anticipation, as the City of Tshwane Bursary Handover was planned weeks in advance. Mrs Shanaaz Majiet and Ms Victoria Mosewu tirelessly worked to ensure that the new partnership forged between the City of Tshwane (COT) and EST Sourcing would be cemented and documented, and that the Bursary Handover was totally in celebration of the impact made on our students’ lives.

The Programme Director, Mrs Majiet, started the proceedings by first welcoming MMC Kingsley Wakelin, a disability rights activist, Cllr Nortje, the Acting Group Head of the Department of Social Development and Community Services, Mr Thabo Mokebe, parents, students, as well as MaxProf and EST Sourcing. Mrs Majiet was very proud of the new partnership formed with MaxProf and EST Sourcing and expressed that she would describe the directors present, Ms Andiswa Matutu CA(SA) and Mrs Renusha Ramdas of MaxProf and EST Sourcing respectively, as Modjadji, the Rain Queens.

Mrs Majiet first requested Mrs Ramdas to clarify the purpose of the handover and the synergy between EST Sourcing and MaxProf. Mrs Ramdas explained that EST Sourcing manages MaxProf’s Corporate Social Responsibility. Along with the bursary programme that is applied to MaxProf’s municipal clientele, a learnership programme is provided which focuses on youth living with disabilities and residing in Tshwane. EST Sourcing approached the COT to assist with the sourcing of these interns and bursary recipients.

For the bursary programme, EST Sourcing approached the Tshwane Leadership and Management Academy (TLMA) for a list of disadvantaged youth within the municipal jurisdiction area who were unable to receive funding from the municipality. The TLMA then provided a list of students that were already registered at colleges and universities. EST Sourcing went through a vigorous vetting process to select the successful candidates. A total of five students were chosen to be part of the bursary programme. Mrs Ramdas highlighted that in our home city, MaxProf has funded a total of R 214,000 in bursaries for five Tshwane residents of which two are living with disabilities. In comparison to all seventy-three of MaxProf’s current municipal clients, the investment made in the COT was the largest to date.

Mrs Ramdas recognised the COT’s focus on providing opportunities to people living with disabilities, which, in her experience, is seldom experienced; it illustrates the inclusive culture that the COT propagates and bears testament to its motto “Igniting Excellence”. She further encouraged the bursary recipients to make the most of this given opportunity, to pay it forward in their own way at their own time, and to contribute to the progression of our community and society as a whole.

MaxProf was represented by Ms Andiswa Matutu CA(SA), who first celebrated all the women present at the handover, highlighting their positive contribution to the bursary programme as well as leading the day’s proceedings. Ms Matutu highlighted the importance of education in South Africa and how it ties in with breaking generational poverty and creating leaders of the future. It is important for MaxProf to be part of an initiative that will have a long-lasting impact on the lives of those in our communities. The 1% of revenue that MaxProf allocates to social development, is evidence that if other private companies were to follow suit, the impact would be greater on the future of South Africa.

Ms Matutu mentioned that she too was a beneficiary of a bursary programme on her journey to becoming a Chartered Accountant. With the financial assistance she received for her studies she is now a qualified Chartered Accountant and is currently studying towards a Master’s in Business Administration. Ms Matutu encouraged our bursary recipients to study hard so that they too can find themselves in a position where they can further their studies and make a name for themselves in society. She continued by saying that we should also, in our personal capacity, mentor, tutor, and support students, thereby assisting them to succeed in their studies.

Mrs Majiet called upon the Acting Group Head for the Department of Social Development and Community Services, Mr Thabo Mokebe. Mr Mokebe’s department plays a vital role in the COT. The disability desk forms part of this department and is responsible for the mainstreaming of disability rights in the City. During his address, Mr Mokebe acknowledged the COT’s 2021 approval of the disability policy which ensures that the City transforms itself by promoting the rights of the disabled.

It is important that we as the community recognise those living with disabilities. Mr Mokebe is proud and appreciates that the COT has private partners like MaxProf and EST Sourcing that are contributing to enriching people living with disabilities beyond legal compliance. Mr. Mokebe said, “Together we can improve employment equity by providing people living with disabilities with opportunities that can change their lives.” He was proud to announce that the City’s policy revisions will ensure that 5% of all opportunities are channeled to people living with disabilities. Mr Mokebe called on all external and internal stakeholders to also initiate programmes that are beneficial to our communities.

Cllr Hendrik Nortje addressed the attendees stating that only 3% of people living with disabilities are employed and having private sector companies like MaxProf and EST Sourcing contribute to the upskilling and education of those living with disabilities is indeed the light at the end of the tunnel. Cllr Nortje called on the MMC to support our bursary recipients and to assist the students by gaining practical work experience at the COT. He expressed his excitement for the bursars to be able to experience student life and fulfil their potential without the worry of tuition fees.

MMC Kingsley Wakelin, quoted St Francis of Assisi, “Let’s not just give a man a fish, lets teach him how to fish,” and thanked MaxProf and EST Sourcing for teaching people how to fish with vision and passion. With that being said, the COT should also ensure that these bursary recipients are employed by the City. The MMC stated that the bursary recipients have a responsibility to study for the betterment of our country and one day when they are leaders in their industries, they should pay it forward. The MMC also urged the bursary recipients’ parents to support the bursars through their tertiary studies, and in the same breath thanked them for attending the ceremony with their children.

All the bursary recipients were encouraged to share some background information about themselves. Nthabiseng Tlaka shared that she was diagnosed with a condition called Guillain-Barré syndrome in 2015. Guillain-Barré syndrome is a rare but serious auto-immune disorder in which the immune system attacks healthy nerve cells in your peripheral nervous system. The impairment affected her nerves which resulted in paralysis in her arms and legs and resulted in her being wheelchair dependant. As her nerves for voluntary movement were affected, Nthabiseng had to learn everyday activities like walking and writing again. She chose to study a National Diploma in Human Resources because of her passion for assisting youth living with disabilities with learnership and job placement opportunities.

Ms Pretty Ntlabathe from Atteridgeville, Pretoria is currently in the 2nd year of her Bachelor in Laws degree. She first completed her National Diploma in Legal Secretary, before studying further, however it was difficult because of financial constraints. She is grateful to be able to further her studies through the support of MaxProf and EST Sourcing’s bursary programme. She foresees herself being one of the best future Advocates in South Africa and urged her fellow bursary recipients to make the most of the opportunity that has been bestowed on them.

Ms Molemo Mabunda matriculated at Lyttleton High School in Centurion where she excelled in netball, hockey, and athletics. She is now in her 2nd year of a Bachelor of Laws degree. Ms Mabunda is fond of reading books, consequently law being a pertinent choice of study as she gets to engage with her subject matter. She has a passion for justice and equality; as a result, studying law will equip her in actively redressing the challenges our society faces. “I want to become an active role player in society by playing my part in contributing to attaining justice and curbing crime in South Africa, as well as balancing the scales of justice,” she affirms.

Ms Mabunda expressed her appreciation to MaxProf and EST Sourcing for contributing to bringing her one step closer to her goals and dreams, and that she can continue her studies without any financial woes. Her mother became the sole breadwinner in 2021 when her father lost his job due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It has been a rather difficult time for her family due to financial challenges, however, receiving a bursary has alleviated the worry of her tuition fees. She looks forward to completing her degree and changing the world.

Manqoba Shabangu feels lucky to have been awarded a bursary by MaxProf and EST Sourcing because it has placed him in a position where he can focus on his studies and goals, which are also aligned to giving back to the community. He chose to study a Diploma in Supply Chain Management as there are many job opportunities in the industry, as well as market gaps to start a business where he can offer job opportunities to others as his contribution to society.

Xaidon Witbooi could not be present at the ceremony due to his course of study constantly requiring him to perform practical tasks in different farming environments. His twin sister represented him and spoke on his behalf. After matriculating, Mr Witbooi had to take a gap year due to financial constraints and was prepared to work for a year to save

for his tuition fees. His sister described him as someone that loves to be outdoors and “use his hands”; he therefore decided on Animal Production as his field of study. As a person of few words, he is not one to vocalise his personal life, however, when his family now receives communication from Xaidon, he passionately speaks of the various animals and different plant species he is currently studying; this being a clear indication of his happiness.

The ceremony concluded with words from the bursary recipients’ parents who were invited to speak, where they expressed their gratitude for the positive difference MaxProf and EST Sourcing have made to their families. The parents also urged their children to work hard, as this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

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