'Dear Mr President...do the math'
An NGO takes a jab at government over plans to acquire a new presidential jet with its new ad campaign.
JOHANNESBURG - A campaign by 'One School at a Time' has taken a jab at government's plans to procure a new jet for President Jacob Zuma in an illustrative image published in the Times on Friday.
The advert is a simple depiction of nearly 189 schools that could be built if government were to divert the funds.
This week, Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula refused to say how much government would be spending on securing the new presidential jet, but based on the specifications for the new aircraft published by Armscor, the defence force's acquisition's agency came at an unofficial estimate of R4 billion.
The full campaign published by One School at a Time. Picture: Supplied
Pepe Marais, the founder of 'One School at a Time', says, "The objective of the ad is to draw attention to the fact that we are discussing billion-rand jets in South Arica when we are sitting with a crisis in education. The bottom line is you should not be investing in a jet when you can fly commercial business class. It's good enough when you have a shocking state of education in South Africa."
Hoping to get the attention of millions of people, the organisation has published a lot more campaign advertisements in the past to draw donations for two of the schools it supports - Forte High School in Dobsonville Soweto and Itirele-Zenzele Comprehensive School in Diepsloot.
They have assisted both schools in the steady improvement of its pass rates through various initiatives like the provision of extra classes over the weekends, a leadership programme for the schools' management, improving its infrastructure with by refurbishing its library and building sports facilities.
According to the organisation, Forte High School improved its pass rate of 52 percent back in 2007, steadily grew to 66 percent in 2010 and then to a 94 percent in 2014.
Last year, grade 12 learners passed with an 88.4 percent average.
Marais says, "There should be a national focus. We are one of the strongest economies or we used to be one of the strongest in Africa, we have the best banking and finance system in the world but we somehow do not have the money to fix education? And if you fix education, you fix crime, you will see a huge outcome in the economy of this country. That's a hunch."