Ops CORONA leaves a legacy in honour of Madiba centenary celebrations

BYLINE: S Sgt Itumeleng Makhubela,
Photos by Cpl Jonathan Mogano

In their quest to curb cross-border criminality on the RSA and Lesotho border by ensuring that the people of South Africa are and feel safe, members of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), have also extended a helping hand after building three classrooms for the learners of Caiphus Khoapana Junior Secondary School near Matatiele in the Eastern Cape Province.

Amongst other Companies deployed as part of Operation CORONA on this border, the Reserve Force Company from Prince Alfred's Guard (PAG) in Makanda (Grahamstown) has built the school classrooms in order to assert that learning is not disrupted by a dilapidated structure or due to shortage of classrooms. This gesture is in line with the SANDF's contribution to the Nelson Mandela Centenary Celebrations.

The Principal Mr Jerry Lepheyane said the school and the matsetseng community is grateful of the effort initiated Chaplain Nonjojo and Chaplain Mbodla when they visited the area during a community outreach. "They came to this village and seen the dilapidated structures which were on the verge of collapsing. They felt the need to intervene and assist the school and build this new block of classrooms." He said.

According to Chaplain Nokhalipha Nonjojo, the project actually started in 2014 when she was first deployed with the PAG. She said that it is exciting and fulfilling that she was part of noble cause which resulted in the construction of a block of three classrooms. "We discovered the school during a community outreach. It was in a bad condition. After some funding from local hardware stores and personal financial contributions of SANDF members, we now have three extra classrooms for the school." She said.    

The Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Ms Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula said the handing of the classrooms affords the children of Matatiele, Matsetseng and surrounding communities the right to education and access to a learning environment which is conducive to compete on an equal footing with their peers from other neighbourhoods.

She indicated that the expansion of the school to eleven (11) classrooms would rid the learners from the problem of overcrowding and improve their chances of access to quality education.

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