Good luck matrics

Diamond Fields Advertiser - - OPINION -

IN JUST a few days thou­sands of ma­tric pupils in Kimberley and the North­ern Cape will sit down to write what they be­lieve is the most im­por­tant ex­ams of their lives.

By now they have been bom­barded with ad­vice rang­ing from study tips to con­cen­tra­tion-boost­ing sup­ple­ments. The pres­sure on these young­sters is great. With un­em­ploy­ment so high, par­ents add to this pres­sure, stak­ing their hopes on that se­nior cer­tifi­cate open­ing doors to jobs or fur­ther study. It’s not sur­pris­ing then that sui­cide rates are so high with up to 20% of high school pupils hav­ing tried to take their own lives.

Many be­lieve that this lit­tle piece of pa­per is the only way out of un­em­ploy­ment and poverty, and brings with it the prom­ise of a de­cent-pay­ing job and a mid­dle-class life.

I can tell you now, that it isn’t. This is re­ally just the start of a long road ahead of you, our matrics of 2018.

Be proud of your­self, you have done well to get to ma­tric. You went to school and made it this far – less than half of the chil­dren who en­rol in Grade 1 make it to Grade 12 and only 28% of peo­ple aged 20 or older have com­pleted high school. So, well done to you for get­ting this far.

But your ma­tric cer­tifi­cate isn’t the be all and end all.

A ma­tric cer­tifi­cate doesn’t guar­an­tee you a job. In South African one-third of the six mil­lion peo­ple un­em­ployed have their ma­tric.

Your ma­tric is just a start­ing block – yes it’s an im­por­tant one, but the real test isn’t this one, it’s when you start your first job or en­rol for your de­gree. You still have to go out there, work harder than ever be­fore and prove your worth.

While this piece of pa­per might get you into the doors of higher ed­u­ca­tion, the next hur­dle is just around the cor­ner. Less than half of univer­sity stu­dents end up with de­grees.

When you go for your first job in­ter­view or sit for your univer­sity or col­lege ex­ams, you will think back to these ex­ams and re­alise that these aren’t the most im­por­tant or the most dif­fi­cult chal­lenges that you will face.

To be ed­u­cated doesn’t mean just hav­ing book knowl­edge, it’s what you do with that knowl­edge, use it to make a bet­ter world, not only for your­self but for everyone around you and for those who come af­ter you.

No one will re­mem­ber you for pass­ing ma­tric, they will re­mem­ber the legacy you leave be­hind.

While your na­tional se­nior cer­tifi­cate doesn’t guar­an­tee suc­cess, hope­fully it has taught you that you can do any­thing when you put in the ef­fort.

But re­mem­ber that your fu­ture suc­cess is not de­pen­dent on the ex­ams you are about to take, it’s de­pen­dent on you.

Good luck matrics of 2019. THE LONG­EST pro­duc­tion train in the world re­cently took off from Sishen in the North­ern Cape.

Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) has added an­other feather to its cap af­ter suc­cess­fully run­ning a 375-wagon man­ganese train over a dis­tance of 861 kilo­me­tres - mak­ing it the long­est pro­duc­tion train in the world.

The feat took place last month when the four-kilo­me­tre long train took off from Sishen in the North­ern Cape to Sal­danha in the West­ern Cape.

The 375-wagon train is the high­est num­ber of wag­ons fit­ted on a train in the world, break­ing TFR’s own record 342-wagon iron ore train that is cur­rently op­er­a­tional on the same Transnet cor­ri­dor.

Lloyd To­bias, TFR chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer, said the long-haul oper­a­tion was in line with TFR’s busi­ness ob­jec­tive of mi­grat­ing traf­fic from road to rail.

TFR said the project will max­imise the man­ganese vol­umes railed be­tween mines in Ho­tazel via Sishen to Sal­danha.

This will be achieved by op­ti­mis­ing the use of ex­ist­ing as­sets, lo­co­mo­tives and wag­ons, within the in­stalled in­fra­struc­ture con­straints, do­ing more with what is cur­rently avail­able.

Gen­eral man­ager for the Iron Ore and Man­ganese Busi­ness Unit, Rus­sell Baatjies, said that there was an op­tion of in­creas­ing man­ganese’s rail ca­pac­ity to re­spond to cus­tomer de­mand by up­grad­ing the ex­ist­ing rail­way feeder lines and build new rolling stock.

“That op­tion would have cost us sig­nif­i­cant cap­i­tal. The project team was chal­lenged to ex­plore the use of tech­nol­ogy through In­dus­try 4.0 so­lu­tions, to achieve the same ob­jec­tive at min­i­mum cost. Ap­ply­ing distributed power tech­nol­ogy to in­crease the train length to 375 wag­ons will re­duce cap­i­tal re­quire­ments by over 90% of the ini­tial es­ti­mate,” he said.

Fol­low­ing the suc­cess­ful ex­e­cu­tion of the test train, Transnet will em­bark on a jour­ney to op­er­a­tionalise the four-kilo­me­tre long train, which is meant to meet the needs of man­ganese cus­tomers within the Ho­tazel area and the emerg­ing min­ers. This phase will in­clude fur­ther cus­tomer engagements and of­fi­cial launch of the train.

Brian Mon­akali, TFR gen­eral man­ager, who is also the chair­man of the International Heavy Haul As­so­ci­a­tion, said: “This is an­other break­through for the heavy haul rail­way in­dus­try. Rio Tinto, Aus­tralia, re­cently started with the im­ple­men­ta­tion of driver­less trains in their iron ore rail­way sys­tem. Transnet has now suc­cess­fully tested a 375-wagon train, soon to be op­er­a­tionalised. The col­lab­o­ra­tion on tech­ni­cal re­search and sharing of best prac­tice by heavy haul op­er­a­tions world­wide will surely keep push­ing the op­er­a­tions, safety and rail ca­pac­ity en­ve­lope to new lev­els through ap­pli­ca­tion of break­through tech­nol­ogy”.

“Once in oper­a­tion, the 375-wagon man­ganese train will be the pro­duc­tion train with the high­est num­ber of wag­ons in the world, and the long­est man­ganese train in the world with the high­est vol­umes car­ried per train. These longer trains rep­re­sent an op­por­tu­nity to in­crease vol­umes railed and drive the strate­gic im­per­a­tive of mov­ing bulk traf­fic back to rail,” TFR said.

– Norma Wildenboer

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