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Mayor Tau spreads Madiba Day cheer at old age home

More than 110 senior citizens at Ithuteng Old Age Home in Zone 4 Meadowlands, Soweto, had a day of their lives on Monday July 18 when Johannesburg Executive Mayor Cllr Parks Tau celebrated International Nelson Mandela with them.

This was one of several events and activities that the City of Johannesburg staged across all its seven regions to mark the late former president’s birthday.

The revered international statesman – who was born in Mvezo in the Eastern Cape on 18 July 1918 and died at his Houghton, Johannesburg, home on 5 December 2013 – would have turned 98 on Monday. In 2009 his birthday was declared International Nelson Mandela Day by the United Nations. Since then people all over the world dedicate 67 minutes of time to social causes in recognition of the 67 years he spent fighting for freedom, justice and equality.

On Monday, Mayor Tau, who was accompanied by Member of the Mayoral Committee for Health and Social Development Cllr Nonceba Molwele, distributed blankets, Mandela T-shirts and bienies to Etuteng’s 50 permanent residents and 60 day visitors before having lunch with them.

“It’s important for us to be here today to support the great work being done here. Mandela Day is about us interacting with the people; it’s about us being inspired to continue doing the good work Madiba did. It’s about getting people out of their offices, mobilise, do real work and make a real difference,” Mayor Tau said.

Gogo Victoria Khumalo, 84, who has lived at the home for the past two years, was thrilled to have been visited by the Mayor and showered with gifts. So was her friend, Gogo Emily Mashego.
Earlier, Mayor Tau, accompanied by officials from some of the City's partners, including Hollard Foundation and Harambe, met representatives of formal and informal Early Childhood Development Centres in Molapo, also in Soweto, to facilitate and improve early childhood development.

“We’ve designed a programme for both established ECDCs and start-ups to train them in childcare. We also distributed tablets to caregivers so they can be part of the system of monitoring the children’s progress. These are children being prepared for Grade R and their progress needs to be monitored,” he said.

“The fact is that 50% of children under five have no access to ECDCs. So this programme’s aim is to train the educators, ensure that centres comply with the City’s bylaws and link with the coaches.”

At Roodepark High School in Discovery, in the City's Region C, Transport MMC Cllr Christine Walters was impressed with the skills training the pupils were receiving.

The school teaches practical subjects such as welding, panelbeating, woodwork, motor mechanics, arts and crafts, needlework, hair and beauty technology and basic practical childcare.

“I hope the Regional Director (Mlamleli Belot) will continue working with the school. We need more schools delivering these vocational programmes because we need people who can make and fix things and keep the economy moving. I’d like to encourage all of you to continue to be the shining example that you are. That is what Mandela would have wanted,” she said.

Motivational speaker Jan Combrink called on the learners to stay away from drugs, alcohol and other substances.

“The best way to avoid addiction is never to be addicted,” he said.

MMC Walters was accompanied by Section 79 Portfolio Committee for Economic Development Chairman Cllr Willie van der Schyf and top officials from Johannesburg Water, City Power, Johannesburg City Parks.& Zoo, Johannesburg Roads Agency and Pikitup.