|Our Programme Director, your
royal highnesses, honourable MEC for Social Development, Mrs Thoko Xhasa,
sponsors, honoured guests and players,
Before I name individual participants who deserve special thanks, I should first of all be saying thank you to all of you for making this day a success.
In thanking groups of people individually, I wish to start with the MEC Social Development, Mrs Toko Xhasa; your presence is appreciated by all of us. We are aware that towards the end of the year there are many events that the honourable MEC could have been engaged with, but because of her commitment and the realisation that we were trying to do something special here, she put everything aside to be here. We say thank you to you, madam.
Mthatha Country Club deserves praise; we thank the Club and its members. Had it not been for their willingness this event would not have been a success. We thank them for making available their facilities and dedicated staff. We might come back tomorrow and say: "Can we have another tournament?"
In this regard, I wish to challenge individual players here, that we should contribute in our small way towards the maintenance of this golf course, so that it continues to be available to ourselves and for many generations to come. This course was hit by a large storm in the recent past and many trees were uprooted; we need to approach some of the institutions that are contributing to the greening of South Africa, such as Trees for Africa, and the Wilderness School of Mr Player - the brother of Gary Player - whom I've worked with and whom I know is very passionate about environmental issues.
This tournament would not have been so successful without the involvement of the sponsors. A special word of thanks goes to all the sponsors.
MTN was the first group to show willingness to come onboard as a sponsor, and encouraged us to pursue the staging of this event with greater enthusiasm. We thank MTN and the MTN staff, in particular their Sales Manager, Mr Boyd Chislett, who agreed from the initial stages to support this worthy cause.
To Mr Cekisani who played and participated today on behalf of MTN, please convey to MTN Management that you witnessed this event and one thing you noticed is that we didn't use your rivals, such as Vodacom, Telkom, or Cell C, thus sticking to the rules of sponsorship. Once your rivals see the success of this event, I am certain that they will come to us offering to double the sponsorship of this event so that they too can be associated with it. But let me assure you that we will continue to give first preference to MTN, because you were there with us from the outset and you are the pioneers in this event. Once more we thank MTN (refer to slogan "everywhere")
We approached many companies and institutions. Amongst the very first who responded positively was ABSA Bank. We wish also to thank them for supporting this noble cause. We understand also that ABSA is establishing itself for the first time in the region of Transkei in terms of opening branches. We wish you success in this endeavour, and hope that your participation in this tournament will send a strong signal that ABSA is committed to the wellbeing of the community.
During the course of the fundraising period for this event we were surprised to receive the biggest donation from ESKOM. So a special word of thanks to the Management of ESKOM, although they had donated the biggest amount they did not insist that we should change the event marketing and profile to reflect that. They acknowledged that MTN was first onboard and decided to contribute nonetheless. Financially we can say today that ESKOM is the main sponsor. I was impressed by their flexibility when they said "Let MTN who began the process, run with the ball."
The contribution by SA Airlink has also boosted this tournament and we are looking forward to future cooperation.
Some of the prizes awarded here today were donated by the Pro Shop Woodmead in Johannesburg, who is well known for selling golf gear. Their prompt response to our inquiries is highly appreciated and may their continuous upgrading of golf equipment receive more support from South African golf players.
Unity Insurance, responsible for motor and household insurance, responded quickly, although we approached them very late in the day. We also thank them, we know that they are a new player in the industry, but within a year of their existence they saw fit to become involved in this initiative.
The contribution by Investec Bank is appreciated and Investec has said that given more warning next time around that they would contribute even more. We salute them as well for their prompt response to our request.
The same view has been expressed by the Bloomberg Group of companies' Executive Chairperson, Mr Israel Bloomberg. He showed willingness to support programmes of this nature in future.
African Sales also contributed by donating some nice prizes, perfume and so on, so those who have won prizes will be the recipients of top quality perfume.
We also value the sterling contribution of Super Group Logistic Division.
We further need to thank Distell Liquor for their contribution, and they also committed themselves to doing more if given more warning in future.
Sarens, a company involved in transport, is also recognised for their contribution.
Mageu Number One have contributed also to ensure that we quench our thirst while we were playing. I saw participants helping themselves during the course of the day, especially because some of us did not have breakfast this morning and Mageu's nutritious indigenous drink got us through the morning.
Lastly, I wish to thank my colleagues in the Organising Committee, who initiated this event, namely: Mpumalanga Gwadiso, Mvikeli "Nobetha" Matutu and Foster Sikolobo. We know that we didn't do justice to ourselves, because when we mooted this idea at first, we didn't have time, even the planning was done in the running. Perhaps we could have done far better had we had more time. One thing which we all agreed on without hesitation, was not to take the money we fundraised and go and pay an event management company who feels nothing for the cause; we felt strongly that every cent left over after paying the cost of staging the tournament must go directly to the charities. In hindsight, we were wise, but next time we need to engage an event management company who also believes in this cause, and who will render their services with the same passion that we feel for this cause.
In the same vein, if this event has not lived up to your expectations, the audience must realise that we volunteered our spare time and energy to make the arrangements for this event, and next time we will improve.
Finally, the Organising Committee will meet early next year to do some introspection and decide whether there is a need to repeat this event and whether there is a need to consult widely, and whether there is a need for more tournaments like this for different causes. We worked closely with Mthatha Country Club around here. Once more we thank the Executive of Mthatha Country Club for the continuous advice they gave us during the preparation of this event. You really guided us and your advice was invaluable.
Thank you everybody and enjoy your evening.