MEC for Economic Development Environment and Tourism Seaparo Sekoati, Mayor Maripe Mangena, Acting District Senior Manager for Tzaneen Sontaga Mopai, Tzaneen Circuit Manager Felix Nomvela and representatives from SATDU visited Ben Voster today as part of the Back to School Campaign.

The MEC delivered a motivational and congratulatory to learners and later to educators. He congratulated the school for introducing African languages to the curriculum and for accommodating leaners living with disability.

He pledged government support to the school in order to assist the school sustain it excellence. He said other schools can learn from the school. He recommended that the school establish a twinning agreement with a disadvantaged school in order to spread the great work.

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Mayor Maripe Mangena addressed learners and educators at Merensky High School today as part of the Back to School Campaign. He was accompanied by District Senior Manager and the Tzaneen Circuit Manager alongside officials from the Premier's Office, LEDET and the GTM.

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While others were deep in their sleep from the New Year’s Eve hangover Mayor Maripe Mangena was already deep into his ceremonial duties, welcoming New Year’s Day babies. Mangena dressed in a blue shirt and blue jeans arrived at Dr CN Phatudi hospital with the first lady just a few minutes before 8am, the time scheduled for the start of his ceremonial responsibilities. They were not alone, Tzaneen’s fist family was trailed by a group made up of councillors, municipal officials and community members, some representing political parties.

Just like on Christmas day, the hospital has successfully delivered two babies and coincidentally both mothers are from Burgersdorp not far from the hospital. Mangena and his entourage also visited the paediatric ward where seven children were to spend New Year’s Day before leaving for Letaba hospital.

Mangena arrived a Letaba hospital where two babies were prepared for presentation, but there seem to be some form of miscommunication in relation to the mayor’s arrival time. The Mayor arrived at 10:30 on Christmas day but an hour earlier on New Year’ Day. It took at least 45 minutes before things got underway, but the visitors remain patient despite the scotching heat.  Finally Matron Mashapa, the nursing manager arrived and things got underway.

It was a very short but celebratory programme full of singing and clapping. Praises were showered at all directions, to the mayor, the nurses and the mothers. Mangena thanked the nurses for their work which he said “save lives”. Matron Mashapa said “We appreciate the gifts and the time you made for our Christmas babies and for sacrificing your time to be here today (New Year’s Day”. Sister Khumalo thanked the mothers for showing confidence in the hospital and the nurses for preserving the lives of both babies and their mothers. The mood at Letaba Hospital was so jubilant that the mayor, his entourage and nurses danced and sang from the maternity hallway all the way to the gate to the amazement onlookers.

Running behind schedule, the entourage sped off to Van Velden Hospital where two mothers waited with their babies. Only one baby was born at the hospital, the other was delivered at home but the both mother and child had to be admitted. It was so hot on the day that the ceremony had to be taken to another room either than the one initially identified.

At the hospital the Mayor met Lesedi, a fourth-year medical student who had come to give toys to children at the hospital through a foundation she established in 2016. Her foundation “Put a smile” indeed put a smile on the faces of children at the paediatric ward at the hospital as she gave each one a toy. It was all formalities, mothers got their gifts from the first lady and a pep talk from the mayor. Wisani Tshuketani, the hospital’s Community Liaison Officer promised to give the two mothers the gifts from the hospital the next day. 

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Mayor Maripe Mangena and the first lady Mrs Mangena showered Christmas babies with gifts in three hospitals they visited on Christmas. GTM’s first family supported by councillors and officials began their 4-hour programme at Dr CN Phatudi Hospital where two babies were born, however the Mayor could only see one baby as the other was delivered towards the end of the visit and still required cleansing before contact with the outside world. The responsibility to welcome the baby was left to Councillor Gezani Makhubele who replaced the Mayor as the ward councillor for ward 27 in the 2016 local government elections.

While at the CN Mangena has volunteered to name the new bundle of joy, something that seems to have fallen on deaf ears. Mangena did not only meet new borns, he visited the paediatric or the children’s ward where he handed gifts to three boys.

The mayor’s convoy sped-off immediately after the conclusion of all the formalities to Letaba hospital where only baby Khuthalo was delivered almost two hours earlier at 07H27.

After all the pleasantries were exchanged and the mayor had addressed those present it was off to Van Velden hospital where three babies awaited the mayor and his people. Another baby was said to be on the way but not until the mayor was long gone.  At Van Velden the mothers received gifts from the Mayor and from the Hospital’s CEO.

The entourage‘s next stop was the paediatric ward where four boys spent their Christmas. All four received gifts from the mayor.

Mangena has reminded nurses at all the three hospitals of the significant role that they play in society. “Most of you as nurses mostly get insults from members of the public, I want to thank you for the role that you play in society, your work saves lives and we appreciate the work that you do”. Mangena said that instead of celebrating Christmas with their families the nurses were hard at work. 

Addressing the parents Mangena said that babies did not only belong to their parents but to the community at large. He said “That’s why government is going to take responsibility to take care of the baby, educate the baby and so forth” He urged the parents to take good care of their children.

Mangena will again visit the three hospital to welcome New Year babies on the 1st of January 2018.

Report by Neville Ndlala

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