Lafarge hosts debating contest for Motherwell learners

06.09.2013
 

Lafarge South Africa, the local subsidiary of the international Lafarge Group, the world leader in building materials, recently launched its repositioned global brand that reflects the huge trend to urbanisation taking place throughout the world. It is committed to using its technical strength to help provide solutions for building better cities that are more durable, and have more housing, are better connected, more beautiful and more desirable places for everyone. The Group actively assists in promoting the well-being of communities surrounding its operating sites. In particular, it focuses on the development of the youth in those communities. 

Lafarge South Africa's Moregrove Quarry recently hosted a party of Port Elizabeth high school students from the community of Motherwell to give them an appreciation of how the quarry provides graded aggregates for road construction and the production of concrete. It has been heavily involved for some years in supplying stone for the construction of Coega Harbour. The visit also gave students an insight into the career opportunities that quarrying can offer. Following this interesting on site experience, the four schools involved were invited by Lafarge to take part in a debating competition that would build on some of the knowledge gained from the quarry visit.

 

On Saturday 7 September, Master of Ceremonies for the debating event, Lafarge's Country Communications Manager, Charlene Lamb, welcomed the students and staff from the schools. "The ability to communicate your views clearly and present a strong line of argument are tremendous asset for furthering your careers," she said. Lamb then introduced Lafarge's Country General Counsel and Company Secretary, Eugene Schalkwyk, who spoke on the purpose of the Lafarge CSI programme, and the work done by the Lafarge Education and Community Trusts to uplift the standard of education in communities in which the company operates.

"Being a good neighbour is not merely a moral responsibility, it also makes sound business sense," commented Schalkwyk, who is also a Trustee of the Lafarge Education and Community Trusts. "You will be our future customers, employees and leaders of businesses such as that of Lafarge. It is in our company's and country's interest that you develop to be well-educated and the best citizens that you can be."

In the first round of the competition, Soqhayisa Senior Secondary School competed against Ndyebo Senior Secondary School, debating the motion: ‘The aggregates and concrete production environment is suitable for women'. Masiphathisane Senior Secondary School and Motherwell Senior Secondary School debated, ‘It is possible to produce aggregate in an environmentally friendly way'. The winners then debated the controversial motion, ‘Nationalisation of mines should be implemented', to decide the overall winner.

 

The sprawling and underdeveloped urban township of Motherwell in the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality is an area that was identified in the government's Urban Renewal Programme. "We wanted to make a meaningful difference with our CSI programme and this meant partnering with more than one school," commented Esther Seabi, Transformation Manager, Lafarge South Africa. "The debating competition satisfied many of the criteria that we use to assess such projects, in particular the need for a sustainable benefit. The students had to research the topics and develop strong well-reasoned arguments. Learning to stand up and confidently present these arguments in English was a valuable training that will benefit them in all walks of life." 

 

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NOTES TO EDITORS

 

About Lafarge

Located in 64 countries with 65 000 employees, Lafarge is the world-leader in building materials, with top-ranking positions in its Cement, Aggregates and Concrete businesses. In 2012, the Group posted sales of 15,8 billion Euros.

 

Lafarge places innovation at the heart of its priorities, working for sustainable construction and architectural creativity to help build better cities around the world: more beautiful cities that are better connected, have more housing, and are more compact and durable.  Since 2010, the Lafarge Group has been part of the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index, the first global sustainability benchmark, in recognition of its sustainable development actions.

 

In South Africa, the company manufactures and supplies cement, aggregates, readymixed concrete, gypsum plasterboard and interior building fittings. It focuses on providing solutions to help the sustainable development of better cities that benefit the country's people. Through having a strong presence in all of its business lines, it is in a unique position to contribute to urban construction, while also helping to build better rural towns and villages.

 

Lafarge South Africa also demonstrates active concern for the conservation of the country's wildlife heritage and is a major supporter of the world's first dedicated baby rhino orphanage in Limpopo Province. The Group has for many years been a leader in sustainable development and was the first industrial group to enter into a worldwide ‘Conservation Partnership' with the environmental protection organisation, WWF International.

 

Additional information is available on the website at www.lafarge.co.za

 

For further information, please contact:

 

Charlene Lamb

Country Communications Manager

011 657 0000

Charlene.Lamb@lafarge-za.lafarge.com

 

Inzalo Communication

Bridget von Holdt

011 646 9992 / 0826100650

bridget@inzalo.com