19 July 2018


JB Marks Education Trust Fund shows outstanding results

by: Obakeng Maje   date:

The National Union of Mineworkers' (NUM) JB Marks Education Trust Fund will continue to support poor students throughout their education.

The trust fund spokesperson, Jako Mokgosi, said the Fund also assists graduates to enter the mining, energy and construction industries and other disciplines. "We have shored up graduates from institutions of higher learning. Some of them are qualified to work in disciplines such as engineering, mining, commerce, communications and medicine," Mokgosi said.

He said the Fund was founded to ensure that the children of mineworkers secured a better future.

"When the National Union of Mineworkers was established in 1982 a huge number of its members were illiterate. Through the Mineworkers Investment Trust (MIT), the JB Marks Education Trust Fund was put in place to educate dependants of NUM members to study towards any qualification of their choice. This comes with no obligation to pay back the fund once their studies are completed," Mokgosi said.

Those who graduated after getting financial assistance are today helping to build a better South Africa, he said. "We provide assistance to those whose parents or guardians are members of NUM. The JB Marks Trust Fund ensures that the bursary applications are sent out in March of each year. The applications will be captured onto our system. This enables us to keep record of all the applications. "After the applications have been captured, then the trust gives priority to students with the highest marks. The dependants of mineworkers who are retrenched or deceased are then chosen. And finally, the rest are selected by their choice of course," he said.

Mokgosi said it was important to assist students because their parents have worked hard over long periods. He added that everyone needs to take a stand and play a crucial role of equipping leaders of tomorrow.

"It is a great opportunity for other organisations to implement the same system to assist those graduates in need. We award 200 bursaries annually and have had over 1000 graduates to date. Ninety-two tertiary students were honoured at this year's 7th JB Marks Education Trust Fund Awards, which took place at Emperors Palace in Johannesburg recently. Of the 92 students who graduated with essential qualifications, nine of them achieved top honours and additional awards for Outstanding Academic Performance in various categories".

One of the beneficiaries, Lerato Semetse from Kanana township in Orkney, completed her National Diploma in Engineering Metallurgy. She is currently studying towards her postgraduate studies (B-Tech) at Wits University. "Education is very expensive nowadays, so being raised by a single parent is a disadvantage. However, JB Marks Education Trust Fund came in handy. We need to come together to address poverty, inequality and unemployment. "I also want to encourage students amid the #FeesMustFall campaign to refrain from burning public properties," Semetse told Semphete.

She said all stakeholders must come forward and find a solution for high tertiary education fees.

Chief Executive Officer (COO) of the Mineworkers Investments Trust (MIT), Simphiwe Nanise said: "There is no easy way to achieve success unless you apply yourself to the task at hand. All the graduates have done just that."

Caption: (From Left to Right) COO of MIT Simphiwe Nanise, Engineering Award Winner, Lerato Semetse and Mary Bomela, CEO of MIC.