A debate tournament was once again hosted by a prominent company who has incorporated this event as part of their CSI programme.

The 2014 Debating Tournament for the school community of Motherwell, held for the second consecutive year at the ETC Conference Centre, Port Elizabeth, was proudly hosted by Lafarge South Africa. As the main sponsor of the event, the company was pleased to see ten schools, including one school from Booysen Park, participating this year.

“Lafarge decided to sponsor this tournament as it is our policy to encourage our operating sites to be involved in projects that benefit the surrounding communities,” says Jacques Schutte, Lafarge South Africa’s Country Strategy and Business Development Manager. “In assessing community projects to support, the Debate Tournament satisfies many of the criteria that we use to assess such projects. One of the key points that we look for is whether there is a sustainable benefit. Learning to stand up and confidently present a clear line of argument in English is valuable training that will benefit learners from all walks of life, and certainly qualifies in terms of our sustainability criteria.”

According to Transformation Manager Esther Seabi, Lafarge South Africa strongly supports debating as a valuable tool for its CSI programme. This year the debate teams were expected to speak persuasively and defend their opinions in a heated and exciting event in which top-notch arguments and counter-arguments were the order of the day. The debate tournament included five rounds, leading to two semi-finals and a final round in which the last motion: ‘South Africa is a good example of a democratic state’ was debated.

Winning teams received IT resources, sponsored by Lafarge South Africa, with prizes including laptops, printers and internet access to enhance the learning experience for these deserving schools.

By making use of the formal SACEE (South African Council for English Education) basic debating rules, a practical structure is set and consistency in standard is achieved. More specifically this debating competition addresses the need to improve communication, research and critical thinking skills.

Lafarge regularly forms partnerships of this nature as a proudly South African company. “Our success depends on these students becoming engineers, managers, leaders and possibly our customers in the future. We want to be closely involved with the betterment of young South Africans,” concludes Esther.