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President Cyril Ramaphosa: 2018 State of the Nation Address

State of the Nation Address by the President of the Republic of South Africa, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa, 16 February 2018, Parliament

Speaker of the National Assembly, Ms Baleka Mbete,
Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces, Ms Thandi Modise,
Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly and Deputy Chairperson of the NCOP,
Former President Thabo Mbeki,
Former Deputy President FW de Klerk,
Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng and all esteemed members of the judiciary,
Ministers and Deputy Ministers,
Premiers and Speakers of Provincial Legislatures,
Chairperson of SALGA and all Executive Mayors present,
The Heads of Chapter 9 Institutions,
Chairperson of the National House of Traditional Leaders,
Leaders of faith based organisations,
Former Speaker Dr Frene Ginwala,
Former Speaker Mr Max Sisulu,
Invited Guests
Veterans of the struggle for liberation,
Members of the Diplomatic Corps,
Honourable members,
Fellow South Africans,

It is a great honour and privilege to deliver this State of the Nation Address.

This Address should have been delivered last week, but was delayed so that we could properly manage issues of political transition.

I wish to thank Honourable Members and the people of South Africa for their patience and forbearance.

I also wish to extend a word of gratitude to former President Jacob Zuma for the manner in which he approached this difficult and sensitive process.

I wish to thank him for his service to the nation during his two terms as President of the Republic, during which the country made significant progress in several areas of development.

Fellow South Africans,

In just over 150 days from now, the peoples of the world will unite in celebrating the 100th anniversary of the birth of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela.

It is a day on which we, as South Africans, will remember the life of one of the most remarkable leaders this country and this continent – and indeed, the world – has known.

We will recount Madiba’s long walk to freedom, his wisdom, his unfailing humility, his abiding compassion and his essential integrity.

We have dedicated this year to his memory and we will devote our every action, every effort, every utterance to the realisation of his vision of a democratic, just and equitable society.

Guided by his example, we will use this year to reinforce our commitment to ethical behaviour and ethical leadership.

In celebrating the centenary of Nelson Mandela we are not merely honouring the past, we are building the future.

We are continuing the long walk he began, to build a society in which all may be free, in which all may be equal before the law and in which all may share in the wealth of our land and have a better life.

We are building a country where a person’s prospects are determined by their own initiative and hard work, and not by the colour of their skin, place of birth, gender, language or income of their parents.

This year, we also celebrate the centenary of another giant of our struggle, Albertina Nontsikelelo Sisulu.

Through her remarkable life and outstanding contribution, she defined what it means to be a freedom fighter, a leader and a diligent and disciplined servant of the people.

Through her leadership, she embodied the fundamental link between national liberation and gender emancipation.

As we mark her centenary, we reaffirm that no liberation can be complete and no nation can be free until its women are free.

We honour this son and this daughter of the African soil in a year of change, in a year of renewal, in a year of hope.

We honour them not only in word, but, more importantly, in direct action towards the achievement of their shared vision of a better society.

We should honour Madiba by putting behind us the era of discord, disunity and disillusionment.

We should put behind us the era of diminishing trust in public institutions and weakened confidence in leaders.

We should put all the negativity that has dogged our country behind us because a new dawn is upon us.

It is a new dawn that is inspired by our collective memory of Nelson Mandela and the changes that are unfolding.

As we rid our minds of all negativity, we should reaffirm our belief that South Africa belongs to all who live in it.

For though we are a diverse people, we are one nation.

There are 57 million of us, each with different histories, languages, cultures, experiences, views and interests.

Yet we are bound together by a common destiny.

For this, we owe much to our forebearers – people like Pixley ka Seme, Charlotte Maxeke and Chief Albert Luthuli – who understood the necessity of the unity and harmony of all the people of this great land.

We are a nation at one.

We are one people, committed to work together to find jobs for our youth; to build factories and roads, houses and clinics; to prepare our children for a world of change and progress; to build cities and towns where families may be safe, productive and content.

We are determined to build a society defined by decency and integrity, that does not tolerate the plunder of public resources, nor the theft by corporate criminals of the hard-earned savings of ordinary people.

While there are many issues on which we may differ, on these fundamental matters, we are at one.

We know that there is still a lot that divides us.

We remain a highly unequal society, in which poverty and prosperity are still defined by race and gender.

We have been given the responsibility to build a new nation, to confront the injustices of the past and the inequalities of the present.

We are called upon to do so under difficult conditions.

The state we are in as a nation is that while poverty declined significantly following the democratic breakthrough of 1994, we have seen reverses in recent years.

Poverty levels rose in 2015, unemployment has gone up and inequality has persisted.

For several years our economy has not grown at the pace needed to create enough jobs or lift our people out of poverty.

Public finances have been constrained, limiting the ability of government to expand its investment in economic and social development.

Despite these challenging conditions, we have managed – working together – to achieve progress in improving the lives of our people.

Even under conditions of weak growth, our economy has created jobs, but not at the pace required to absorb new entrants into the labour market.

This means that as we pursue higher levels of economic growth and investment, we need to take additional measures to reduce poverty and meet the needs of the unemployed.

Since the start of the current Parliament, our public employment programmes have created more than 3.2 million work opportunities.

In the context of widespread unemployment, they continue to provide much needed income, work experience and training.

We have taken measures to reduce the cost of living, especially for the poor.

Government’s free basic services programme currently supports more than 3.5 million indigent households.

More than 17 million social grants are paid each month, benefiting nearly a third of the population.

We know, however, that if we are to break the cycle of poverty, we need to educate the children of the poor.

We have insisted that this should start in early childhood.

Today we have nearly a million children in early childhood development facilities.

We are seeing improvements in the outcomes of our basic education system.

The matric pass rate increased from 60.6 percent in 2009 to 75.1 percent last year.

There are currently almost a million students enrolled in higher education, up from just over 500,000 in 1994.

As we enter a new era, we are determined to build on these achievements, confront the challenges we face and accelerate progress in building a more prosperous and equitable society.

We have seen a moderate recovery in our economy and a broader, sustained recovery in the global economy.

Commodity prices have improved, the stock market has risen, the rand has strengthened and there are early indications that investor confidence is on the rise.

We have taken decisive measures to address concerns about political instability and are committed to ensure policy certainty and consistency.

There is a greater sense of optimism among our people.

Our people are hopeful about the future.

Business confidence among South African companies has improved and foreign investors are looking anew at opportunities in our country.

Some financial institutions have identified South Africa as one of the hot emerging markets for 2018.

Our task, as South Africans, is to seize this moment of hope and renewal, and to work together to ensure that it makes a meaningful difference in the lives of our people.

This year, we will be initiating measures to set the country on a new path of growth, employment and transformation.

We will do this by getting social partners in our country to collaborate in building a social compact on which we will create drivers of economic recovery.

We have to build further on the collaboration with business and labour to restore confidence and prevent an investment downgrade.

Tough decisions have to be made to close our fiscal gap, stabilise our debt and restore our state-owned enterprises to health.

At the centre of our national agenda in 2018 is the creation of jobs, especially for the youth.

We are going to embark on a number of measures to address the unemployment challenge.

One of the initiatives will be to convene a Jobs Summit within the next few months to align the efforts of every sector and every stakeholder behind the imperative of job creation.

The summit will look at what we need to do to ensure our economy grows and becomes more productive, that companies invest on a far greater scale, that workers are better equipped, and that our economic infrastructure is expanded.

We will expect this summit to come up with practical solutions and initiatives that will be implemented immediately.

We will make a major push this year to encourage significant new investment in our economy.

To this end, we will organise an Investment Conference in the next three months, targeting both domestic and international investors, to market the compelling investment opportunities to be found in our country.

We are going to address the decline over many years of our manufacturing capacity, which has deeply affected employment and exports.

We will seek to re-industrialise on a scale and at a pace that draws millions of job seekers into the economy.

We are going to promote greater investment in key manufacturing sectors through the strategic use of incentives and other measures.

To further stimulate manufacturing, we will forge ahead with the localisation programme, through which products like textile, clothing, furniture, rail rolling stock and water meters are designated for local procurement.

We have already spent more than R57 billion on locally-produced goods that may have been imported from other countries.

Special economic zones remain important instruments we will use to attract strategic foreign and domestic direct investment and build targeted industrial capabilities and establish new industrial hubs.

The process of industrialisation must be underpinned by transformation.

Through measures like preferential procurement and the black industrialists programme, we are developing a new generation of black and women producers that are able to build enterprises of significant scale and capability.

We will improve our capacity to support black professionals, deal decisively with companies that resist transformation, use competition policy to open markets up to new black entrants, and invest in the development of businesses in townships and rural areas.

Radical economic transformation requires that we fundamentally improve the position of black women and communities in the economy, ensuring that they are owners, managers, producers and financiers.

Our most grave and most pressing challenge is youth unemployment.

It is therefore a matter of great urgency that we draw young people in far greater numbers into productive economic activity.

Young South Africans will be moved to the centre of our economic agenda.

They are already forming a greater proportion of the labour force on our infrastructure projects and are the primary beneficiaries of programmes such as the installation of solar water heaters and the war on leaks.

We continue to draw young people in far greater numbers into productive economic activity through programmes such as the Employment Tax Incentive.

Working in partnership with business, organised labour and community representatives, we are creating opportunities for young people to be exposed to the world of work through internships, apprenticeships, mentorship and entrepreneurship.

Next month, we will launch the Youth Employment Service initiative, which will place unemployed youth in paid internships in companies across the economy.

Together with our partners in business, we have agreed to create a million such internships in the next three years.

If we are to respond effectively to the needs of youth, it is essential that young people articulate their views and are able to engage with government at the highest level.

I will therefore be establishing a Youth Working Group that is representative of all young South Africans to ensure that our policies and programmes advance their interests.

Infrastructure investment is key to our efforts to grow the economy, create jobs, empower small businesses and provide services to our people.

We have invested heavily in new roads, power stations, schools and other infrastructure.

As some of our projects are taking time to get off the ground and to enhance our efforts, I will assemble a team to speed up implementation of new projects, particularly water projects, health facilities and road maintenance.

We have learnt some valuable lessons from our experience in building all the new infrastructure, which will inform our way ahead.

We will focus on improvements in our budget and monitoring systems, improve the integration of projects and build a broad compact on infrastructure with business and organised labour.

Mining is another area that has massive unrealised potential for growth and job creation is mining.

We need to see mining as a sunrise industry.

With the revival in commodity prices, we are determined to work with mining companies, unions and communities to grow the sector, attract new investment, create jobs and set the industry on a new path of transformation and sustainability.

This year, we will intensify engagements with all stakeholders on the Mining Charter to ensure that it is truly an effective instrument to sustainably transform the face of mining in South Africa.

By working together, in a genuine partnership, underscored by trust and a shared vision, I am certain we will be able to resolve the current impasse and agree on a Charter that both accelerates transformation and grows this vital sector of our economy.

Processing of the MPRDA Amendment Bill through both houses of parliament is at an advanced stage, with an indication by Parliament that the Bill will reasonably be finalised during the first quarter of 2018.

The Bill, once enacted into law, will entrench existing regulatory certainty, provide for security of tenure and advance the socio-economic interests of all South Africans.

We are extremely concerned about the rise in mining fatalities last year.

We call on mining companies to work together with all stakeholders to ensure that mine accidents are dramatically reduced.

One mining fatality is one too many.

Fellow South Africans,

Ultimately, the growth of our economy will be sustained by small businesses, as is the case in many countries.

It is our shared responsibility to grow this vital sector of the economy.

We will work with our social partners to build a small business support ecosystem that assists, nourishes and promotes entrepreneurs.

Government will honour its undertaking to set aside at least 30 percent of public procurement to SMMEs, cooperatives and township and rural enterprises.

We will continue to invest in small business incubation.

We encourage business to do the same.

The establishment through the CEOs Initiative of a small business fund – which currently stands at R1.5 billion – is an outstanding example of the role that the private sector can play.

Government is finalising a small business and innovation fund targeted at start-ups.

We will reduce the regulatory barriers for small businesses.

We are also working to expand economic opportunities for people with disabilities.

Among other things, the Small Enterprise Finance Agency – SEFA – has launched a scheme to develop and fund entrepreneurs with disabilities called the Amavulandlela Funding Scheme.

Agriculture presents one of the greatest opportunities to significantly grow our economy and create jobs.

Agriculture made the largest contribution, by a significant margin, to the improved growth of our economy in the second and third quarters of 2017.

This year, we will take decisive action to realise the enormous economic potential of agriculture.

We will accelerate our land redistribution programme not only to redress a grave historical injustice, but also to bring more producers into the agricultural sector and to make more land available for cultivation.

We will pursue a comprehensive approach that makes effective use of all the mechanisms at our disposal.

Guided by the resolutions of the 54th National Conference of the governing party, this approach will include the expropriation of land without compensation.

We are determined that expropriation without compensation should be implemented in a way that increases agricultural production, improves food security and ensure that the land is returned to those from whom it was taken under colonialism and apartheid.

Government will undertake a process of consultation to determine the modalities of the implementation of this resolution.

We make a special call to financial institutions to be our partners in mobilising resources to accelerate the land redistribution programme as increased investment will be needed in this sector.

Tourism is another area which provides our country with incredible opportunities to, quite literally, shine.

Tourism currently sustains 700,000 direct jobs and is performing better than most other growth sectors.

There is no reason why it can’t double in size.

We have the most beautiful country in the world and the most hospitable people.

This year, we will enhance support for destination marketing in key tourism markets and take further measures to reduce regulatory barriers and develop emerging tourism businesses.

We call on all South Africans to open their homes and their hearts to the world.

Our prosperity as a nation depends on our ability to take full advantage rapid technological change.

This means that we urgently need to develop our capabilities in the areas of science, technology and innovation.

We will soon establish a Digital Industrial Revolution Commission, which will include the private sector and civil society, to ensure that our country is in a position to seize the opportunities and manage the challenges of rapid advances in information and communication technology.

The drive towards the digital industrial revolution will be underpinned by the availability of efficient networks.

We will finalise our engagements with the telecommunications industry and other stakeholders to ensure that the allocation of spectrum reduces barriers to entry, promotes competition and reduces the cost to consumers.

South Africa has acceded to the Tripartite Free Trade Area agreement, which brings together SADC, COMESA and the East African Community.

The free trade area will combine markets of 26 countries with a population of nearly 625 million.

It will open market access opportunities for South African export products, contribute to job creation and the growth of South Africa’s industrial sector.

Negotiations towards the Continental Free Trade Agreement are progressing at a brisk pace, and it is expected that the framework agreement could be concluded soon.

South Africa will this year take over the chair of the BRICS group of countries, and will give priority to the promotion of value-added trade and intra-BRICS investment into productive sectors.

Fellow South Africans,

On the 1st of May this year, we will introduce the first national minimum wage in South Africa.

This historic achievement – a realisation of one of the demands of the Freedom Charter – is expected to increase the earnings of more than six million working South Africans and improve the living conditions of households across the country.

The introduction of a national minimum wage was made possible by the determination of all social partners to reduce wage inequality while maintaining economic growth and employment creation.

It stands as another example of what is possible when South Africans engage in meaningful dialogue to resolve differences and confront challenges.

To ensure greater coherence and consistency in the implementation of economic policy – and to ensure that we are better equipped to respond to changing economic circumstances – I will be appointing a Presidential Economic Advisory Council.

It will draw on the expertise and capabilities that reside in labour, business, civil society and academia.

The country remains gripped by one of the most devastating droughts in a century, which has severely impacted our economy, social services and agricultural production.

The drought situation in the Western Cape, Eastern Cape and Northern Cape has been elevated to a national state of disaster.

This gives national government the authority to manage and coordinate our response nationally with support from all provinces.

This will ensure that we also heighten integrated measures to support the provinces that are hardest hit.

We are looking at activating the necessary extraordinary measures permitted under the legislation.

I commend the people of Cape Town and the rest of the Western Cape for diligently observing water saving measures.

We call on everyone in the country to use water sparingly as we are a water-scarce country that relies on this vital resource to realise our development aspirations.

Honourable Members,

On 16 December last year, former President Jacob Zuma announced that government would be phasing in fully subsidised free higher education and training for poor and working class South Africans over a five-year period.

Starting this year, free higher education and training will be available to first year students from households with a gross combined annual income of up to R350,000.

The Minister of Higher Education and Training will lead the implementation of this policy, while the Minister of Finance will clarify all aspects of the financing of the scheme during his Budget Speech next week.

In addition to promoting social justice, an investment of this scale in higher education is expected to contribute to greater economic growth, reduce poverty, reduce inequality, enhance earnings and increase the competitiveness of our economy.

Government will continue to invest in expanding access to quality basic education and improving the outcomes of our public schools.

The Funza Lushaka Bursary programme plans to award 39,500 bursaries for Initial Teacher Education over the next three years.

In an historic first, from the beginning of this year, all public schools have begun offering an African language.

Also significant is the implementation of the first National Senior Certificate examination on South African Sign Language, which will be offered to deaf learners at the end of 2018.

The Accelerated Schools Infrastructure Delivery Initiative programme continues to deliver modern facilities to schools in rural and underprivileged urban areas across the country, with at least 187 schools being complete to date.

The programme will complete all outstanding projects by the end of the next financial year.

Social grants remain a vital lifeline for millions of our people living in poverty.

We will urgently take decisive steps to comply with the all directions of the Constitutional Court.

I want to personally allay fears of any disruption to the efficient delivery of this critical service, and will take action to ensure no person in government is undermining implementation deadlines set by the court.

We will finalise work on a permanent public sector-led hybrid model, which will allow a set of public and private sector service providers to offer beneficiaries maximum choice, access and convenience.

This year, we will take the next critical steps to eliminate HIV from our midst.

By scaling up our testing and treating campaign, we will initiate an additional two million people on antiretroviral treatment by December 2020.

We will also need to confront lifestyles diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, cancers and cardiovascular diseases.

In the next three months we will launch a huge cancer campaign similar to the HIV counselling and testing campaign.

This will also involve the private sector as we need to mobilise all resources to fight this disease.

The time has now arrived to finally implement universal health coverage through the National Health Insurance.

The NHI Bill is now ready to be processed through government and will be submitted to Parliament in the next few weeks.

Certain NHI projects targeting the most vulnerable people in society will commence in April this year.

In improving the quality of life of all South Africans, we must intensify our efforts to tackle crime and build safer communities.

During the course of this year, the Community Policing Strategy will be implemented, with the aim of gaining the trust of the community and to secure their full involvement in the fight against crime.

The introduction of a Youth Crime Prevention Strategy will empower and support young people to be self-sufficient and become involved in crime fighting initiatives.

A key focus this year will be the distribution of resources to police station level.

This will include personnel and other resources, to restore capacity and experience at the level at which crime is most effectively combated.

In recognising the critical role that NGOs and community-based organisation play in tackling poverty, inequality and related social problems, we will convene a Social Sector Summit during the course of this year.

Among other things, this Summit should seek to improve the interface between the state and civil society and address the challenges that NGOs and CBOs face.

Fellow South Africans,

Growth, development and transformation depend on a strong and capable state.

It is critical that the structure and size of the state is optimally suited to meet the needs of the people and ensure the most efficient allocation of public resources.

We will therefore initiate a process to review the configuration, number and size of national government departments.

Many of our state owned enterprises are experiencing severe financial, operation and governance challenges, which has impacted on the performance of the economy and placed pressure on the fiscus.

We will intervene decisively to stabilise and revitalise state owned enterprises.

The recent action we have taken at Eskom to strengthen governance, root out corruption and restore its financial position is just the beginning.

Government will take further measures to ensure that all state owned companies fulfil their economic and developmental mandates.

We will need to confront the reality that the challenges at some of our SOEs are structural – that they do not have a sufficient revenue stream to fund their operational costs.

These SOEs cannot borrow their way out of their financial difficulties, and we will therefore undertake a process of consultation with all stakeholders to review the funding model of SOEs and other measures.

We will change the way that boards are appointed so that only people with expertise, experience and integrity serve in these vital positions.

We will remove board members from any role in procurement and work with the Auditor-General to strengthen external audit processes.

As we address challenges in specific companies, work will continue on the broad architecture of the state owned enterprises sector to achieve better coordination, oversight and sustainability.

This is the year in which we will turn the tide of corruption in our public institutions.

The criminal justice institutions have been taking initiatives that will enable us to deal effectively with corruption.

The commission of inquiry into state capture headed by the Deputy Chief Justice, Judge Raymond Zondo, is expected to commence its work shortly.

The Commission is critical to ensuring that the extent and nature of state capture is established, that confidence in public institutions is restored and that those responsible for any wrongdoing are identified.

The Commission should not displace the regular work of the country’s law enforcement agencies in investigating and prosecuting any and all acts of corruption.

Amasela aba imali ka Rhilumente mawabanjwe.

We must fight corruption, fraud and collusion in the private sector with the same purpose and intensity.

We must remember that every time someone receives a bribe there is someone who is prepared to pay it.

We will make sure that we deal with both in an effective manner.

We urge professional bodies and regulatory authorities to take action against members who are found to have acted improperly and unethically.

This requires that we strengthen law enforcement institutions and that we shield them from external interference or manipulation.

We will urgently attend to the leadership issues at the National Prosecuting Authority to ensure that this critical institution is stabilised and able to perform its mandate unhindered.

We will also take steps to stabilise and strengthen vital institutions like the South African Revenue Service.

We must understand that tax morality is dependent on an implicit contract between taxpayers and government that state spending provides value for money and is free from corruption.

At the request of the Minister of Finance, I will shortly appoint a Commission of Inquiry into Tax Administration and Governance of SARS, to ensure that we restore the credibility of the Service and strengthen its capacity to meet its revenue targets.

Our state employs one million public servants.

The majority of them serve our people with diligence and commitment.

We applaud them for the excellent work they do.

However, we know the challenges that our people face when they interact with the state.

In too many cases, they often get poor service or no service at all.

We want our public servants to adhere to the principle of Batho Pele, of putting our people first.

We are determined that everyone in public service should undertake their responsibilities with efficiency, diligence and integrity.

We want to instil a new discipline, to do things correctly, to do them completely and to do them timeously.

We call on all public servants to become agents for change.

During the course of the next few months, I will visit every national department to engage with the senior leadership to ensure that the work of government is effectively aligned.

I will also find time to meet with provincial and local government leaders to ensure that the state, in its entirety, responds to the pressing needs of our people.

Fellow South Africans,

Our country has entered a period of change.

While change can produce uncertainty, even anxiety, it also offers great opportunities for renewal and revitalisation, and for progress.

Together we are going to make history.

We have done it before and we will do it again – bonded by our common love for our country, resolute in our determination to overcome the challenges that lie ahead and convinced that by working together we will build the fair and just and decent society to which Nelson Mandela dedicated his life.

As I conclude, allow me to recall the words of the late great Bra Hugh Masekela.

In his song, ‘Thuma Mina’, he anticipated a day of renewal, of new beginnings.

He sang:

“I wanna be there when the people start to turn it around

When they triumph over poverty

I wanna be there when the people win the battle against AIDS

I wanna lend a hand

I wanna be there for the alcoholic

I wanna be there for the drug addict

I wanna be there for the victims of violence and abuse

I wanna lend a hand

Send me.”

We are at a moment in the history of our nation when the people, through their determination, have started to turn the country around.

We can envisage the triumph over poverty, we can see the end of the battle against AIDS.

Now is the time to lend a hand.

Now is the time for each of us to say ‘send me’.

Now is the time for all of us to work together, in honour of Nelson Mandela, to build a new, better South Africa for all.

I thank you.

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Submit Your Budget 2018 Tips

The Minister of Finance Malusi Gigaba has asked South Africas for input on his maiden Budget Speech. The speech will be delivered amid subdued economic growth and a challenging fiscal situation. The Minister encourages South Africans to share their views about the country’s economic conditions and other issues they would like government to highlight.

The budget will be tabled in parliament on 21 February 2018. The Minister invites South Africans to share their views on:

* Funding of free education for students in tertiary institutions;

* How South Africa can achieve inclusive economic growth;

* How South Africa can use its resources to ensure efficiencies; and

* How the government, civil society, unions and business can work together for the purpose of achieving South Africa’s economic objectives.

You can tweet your tips using the hashtag #BudgetTips2018 and follow @TreasuryRSA or go to https://goo.gl/SPftYs

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What support is needed to get Limpopo into the top three performing provinces?

Interview with MEC Honourable Maaria Ishmael Kgetjepe – Limpopo Department of Education

  1. What support is needed to get Limpopo into the top three performing provinces?


Teacher Support

Teacher development on subject content and methodology will be strengthened. This is necessary to ensure that they have the proficiency expected when offering the subjects, they are teaching. Newly appointed teachers will be inducted to ensure that they are acquainted with the intricacies of the Curriculum Assessment Policy Statements (CAPS).

The provincial office will create and advertise teaching posts and ensure that they are filled timeously for the schools to function optimally. Non-viable schools will be identified and if necessary merged before the commencement of the next academic year. The provincial office will ensure that schools are provided with the necessary resources such as sufficient classroom spaces and security within the school premises.

On the other hand, district teacher support is also essential.  Districts should provide guidance on curriculum streaming and subject combinations in schools and see to it that there are regular career guidance exhibitions for learners.

The circuit offices are also important in supporting teachers in the province. The circuits should on regular basis conduct on-site visits to verify the availability and usage of resources to support curriculum delivery.

Learner Support

Annually, the department encourages and registers learners for national and international competitions that encourage them to study the content of the subjects they compete in. Furthermore, camps are regularly organised where focused learning in gateway subjects is conducted by relevantly qualified teachers of the subjects.

The school should guide learners on subject combination and possible careers. However, the school can only recommend a combination without enforcing since the decision of both learners and their parents should be respected when coming to subject choices. In addition to the subject camps, districts are encouraged to organise camps for talented learners as well as camps for girl learners.


Learner Teacher Support Materials

The department will ensure that there are sufficient Learner Teacher Support Materials (LTSM) in schools. Where necessary, subject managers will be encouraged to develop intervention materials for some of the challenging subjects.


Provisioning of Subject Advisors

Regular monitoring and support of curriculum implementation in schools are essential to ensure quality teaching and learning. To this end, the role and responsibilities of subject advisors cannot be overemphasised. Posts of subject advisors will be advertised to ensure that teachers receive adequate support while doing their classroom work.

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Collaboration with other Stakeholders

The department realises the importance of collaboration. Hence, currently, we are maximising collaboration with stakeholders such as Department of Science and Technology, Department of Water and Sanitation, Eskom EXPO for Young Scientists and others.

However, the school has the responsibility to advise parents about their children’s strengths and weaknesses in relation to their future career paths.

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  1. What are the challenges faced by the Limpopo Department of Education?

Teacher shortage is one outstanding challenge to the department. This is further compounded by the lack of subject specialist teachers to offer gateway subjects such as Mathematics, Physical Sciences and Accounting.

Shoddy teaching practices leading to inappropriate assessment practices is another challenge. The quality of assessment is a reliable indicator of the quality of teaching that proceeded it. It should be borne in mind that no system can be better than the quality of its teachers.

Small schools offering many subject choices/curriculum streams add to the challenges. These small schools are unable to focus and strategise due to a variety of subjects offered even when the number of learners being offered these subjects is insignificant (small). Small nonviable schools are always characterised by huge teacher workloads and inappropriate assessment practices.  This in addition to an inadequate number of subject advisors supporting and monitoring curriculum implementation in our schools


  1. Why is parental and community involvement key to improving the education system?

The department will embark on a process of training SGB members to capacitate them on their roles and responsibilities concerning the administration of the schools. The school governing bodies (SGBs) are influential when coming to the quality of teaching and learning in a school. The SGB is responsible for recommending teachers to be hired as part of ensuring the amicable running of the school.

As such, it is essential that parents become an integral part of their children education. By so doing, they become knowledgeable of their children’s strengths and weaknesses and ultimately are able to advise learners on the choice of subjects as well as possible future careers available.

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  1. Why partner with Kagiso Trust to implement the whole school development model in the Sekhukhune district?

The Donor Funding Unit and Department of Education Development Trust arranged a breakfast seminar to solicit funds from the business community in the form of partnerships, donations and curriculum support.

The invitation was extended to the business community, mining companies, education support foundations and trusts. During the presentations of the departmental challenges by the SG of the Department, the work of Kagiso Trust emerged from the Trusts in attendance.

Kagiso Trust’s interest in the province was re-awakened by various issues raised by the Department from results improvement to infrastructural issues.


Why the Sekhukhune District was selected:

The selection of Sekhukhune as the focal point for the programme was due to the fact that the district has many schools and for several years the district’s grade 12 results have been below the provincial benchmark. Consequently, the district is regarded as underperforming and it’s poor performance affects the provincial performance because of the number of schools it commands.


  1. What is your long-term vision for education in the province?

The department aspires to produce year in and year out learners who are motivated to school and learn, trained teachers who conduct themselves in a professional manner, principals who are leaders and parents who are interested in the education of their children in addition to suitable school infrastructure that enhances teaching and learning.



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Partnerships and collaboration that enhance the quality of education in rural schools

Interview with Sizakele Mphatsoe, Education Development Programme Manager, Kagiso Trust

Partnerships are important if we are to heed greater impact Click To Tweet
  1. Why did Kagiso Trust (KT) decide to focus on the full education pipeline (from ECD to Higher Education) within the Education Development pillar?

After reviewing our Beyers Naudé Schools Development Programme (BNSDP) model, established in 2004, one of the observations was that some learners have cumulative gaps. They progress from one grade to the next, with some areas of learning being under-achieved. It is when they reach high school, that it is detected that there is a need for additional assistance needed for numeracy and literacy. This is not a challenge that is unique to our BNSDP learners but a challenge throughout South Africa.

The Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) who assess reading comprehension and monitors trends in reading literacy at five-year intervals assessed fourth year reading comprehension in over 60 countries including South Africa.  In PIRLS recent 2016 findings, South Africa was the lowest performing country (mean score of 320) out of 50 countries.  This means that South Africa may be six years behind the top performing countries. Around 78% of South African Grade 4 learners do not reach the international benchmarks and therefore do not have basic reading skills by the end of the Grade 4 school year, in contrast to only 4% of learners internationally.

Another study done by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA) showed that only one-quarter of children at public, no-fee schools (Quintile 1, 2 and 3) obtained mathematics scores above the minimum level of competency.

Therefore, we need to address these cumulative gaps, by making investments starting in Early Childhood Development (ECD), we are more likely to observe long-term benefit in terms of keeping learners in school longer, which improves learner throughput in the education system (a measure introduced to evaluate learner retention) and ensure that all the learning outcomes, class appropriate competencies and early childhood cognitive development are built early.

Our education development programme will continue with basic education interventions through the BNSDP ( which will now include  ECD as well as exit opportunity programme supporting technical high schools), and Higher Education through the Eric Molobi Scholarship Programme  and extend it to Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges.

Collaboration with the communities we work in should never be underestimated Click To Tweet


  1. Kagiso Trust has implemented the Beyers Naudé Schools Development in collaboration with the Free State Department of Education for the past 7 years and has recently exited the programme which has seen year-on-year academic growth of good quality results from schools in the Thabo Mofutsanyana District. What are some of the lessons learned?
  • A long-term perspective is required for sustained impact. As such, the BNSDP intervention needs at least three years of implementation in a district before yielding positive results.
  • Stakeholder engagement at all levels, including unions, is critical to the intervention’s success.
  • The visibility of leadership (political and administrative) to take ownership of the intervention and provide support is important.
  • Collaboration with the communities we work in should never be underestimated.
  • Teacher movement, i.e. redeployment, resignation and retirement, impact on programme implementation.
  • The role of school governance is key, and implementation needs to ensure that the school governing body actively participates in enhancing the schools’ functionality.
The visibility of leadership (political and administrative) to take ownership of the intervention and provide support is important Click To Tweet


  1. How has KT scaled and replicated the education development model?

One of our key success indicators which are also aligned with our vision, is seeing an uptake from partners and collaborators in adopting this model to improve quality education.  One of the ways we have managed to scale our model is the partnership between Kagiso Trust and the Cyril Ramaphosa Foundation to form the Kagiso Shanduka Trust (KST) in collaboration with the Free State Department of Education to implement the District Whole Schools Development Programme in the Fezile Dabi and Motheo districts in the Free State.  Partnerships are important if we are to heed greater impact and the FirstRand Foundation have joined the KST partnership to scale areas of our model.

Anglo American has been in discussions with the Trust and have shown interest in independently managing and implementing our model in schools in and around their mining towns in North West, Northern Cape, Limpopo and Mpumalanga.


  1. What makes the KT’s Whole Schools Development model unique and what impact has it had?

What makes the model unique is that we don’t just provide much-needed infrastructure, but we look at the entire schooling system. The core objective of the programme is to foster and create functional, vibrant, healthy, accountable and sustainable school communities that impact positively on the after-schooling life of learners in rural areas through effective partnerships at the school, district and community levels

The impact that our model has had to date:

  • 440 schools that have attended empowerment workshops
  • 31 981 number of learners’ eyesight tested
  • 795 learners received spectacles
  • Over 5 000 Educators developed
  • Over 800 000 learners benefited
  • Over 200 jobs created
  • Over 260 SMMEs that benefited


  1. Why did KT partner with Limpopo as the next province to implement BNDSP?

Kagiso Trust in the past 30 years has done a lot of development work in Limpopo and we saw it befitting to go back and look at addressing some of the challenges facing the education system in the province. The province has been one of the three least performing provinces nationally with regards to matric results. We would like to thank the Limpopo MEC for Education Maaria Ishmael Kgetjepe for partnering with us and embracing public-private partnerships to address some of the challenges in the Sekhukhune district and work towards the realisation of Vision 2030 outlined in the National Development Plan.


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Kagiso Trust’s legacy of excellence in Free State schools

To inculcate a culture of excellence in education, Kagiso Trust has been working with schools in the Free State for the past ten years. Kagiso Trust has implemented its District Whole School Development Programme (DWSDP) model in partnership with the Free State Department of Education as well as through Kagiso Shanduka Trust (KST), a partnership with the Cyril Ramaphosa Foundation.

Kagiso Trust congratulates the Free State on attaining 86% for the 2017 NSC, placing the Province in first position for a second consecutive year. In addition, the Free State’s Fezile Dabi and Thabo Mofutsanyana are the top performing districts nationally with pass rates of 90.2% and 90% respectively.

A holistic methodology

The DWSDP model adopts a holistic approach in addressing challenges faced by schools. The model puts emphasis on ensuring a collaborative effort to improving education. This is done by ensuring active participation from a provincial level right through to districts and the schools themselves. The District Whole School Development Programme model’s areas of focus include development and assistance with:

  • Leadership
  • Curriculum
  • Basic and Incentive Infrastructure
  • Social economic challenges

What makes the model unique is that it looks at supporting the entire school’s system by adopting a district approach to maximise the impact of the programme.  The model was first implemented in the Thabo Mofutsanyana district in 2007 with 166 schools. Over the past four years, 225 schools from the Fezile Dabi and Motheo districts, have benefitted and received support to address capacity building, governance and stakeholder engagement, key socio- economic issues as well as ensuring a sustainability roadmap is in place for sustained impact.

The model is also driven by the theory of change. The theory states that if educators are capacitated through professional development and training; and the school environment is improved through investing in infrastructure, curriculum development and leadership support, while the district office is strengthened to assist the schooling system then we expect to see a significant improvement in sustainable learner performance.

“A good model to look at is the [Cyril] Ramaphosa Foundation and the Kagiso Trust in the Free State”, stated Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga in an SAFM interview. “I am confident the number one position that the Free State is in, is [because of the] investment that those two foundations made in the province.”

Throughout the interventions in the three districts, Kagiso Trust has ensured that they work closely with the Free State Department of Education. The close-knit relationship has enabled the Department to influence programme implementation and, similarly, for Kagiso Trust and KST to impart lessons learnt to the Free State Department of Education.

“The interventions are about system[ic] change, more than anything. To get the system to work efficiently” concluded Minister Motshekga.

Replicating the model

The success of the model in the Free State has led to its replication in various forms. In 2018, Kagiso Trust will be implementing the model in Limpopo in partnership with the province’s Department of Education. The lessons learnt from the three Free State districts, being mostly disadvantaged and rural, will be beneficial as the model is customised for Limpopo’s Sekhukhune district.

FirstRand Empowerment Foundation (FREF) has invested R100 million to KST to further the implementation of the District Whole School Development Programme in Fezile Dabi and Motheo. Other organisations have also taken on aspects of the model for replication across the country, making a positive impact to disadvantaged communities.

“This gives testament to our vision of partnerships and collaboration”, comments Themba Mola, Kagiso Trust Chief Operations Officer. “This is scaling and replicating our models to have an impact in broader communities where we would not be able to reach on our own.”


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Kagiso Shanduka Trust encouraged by sustained academic performance in the Free State

The partnership between Kagiso Shanduka Trust (KST) and the Department of Education in the Free State has begun to show positive outcomes as demonstrated by the class of 2017 Matric results in the Fezile Dabi and Motheo districts. The districts achieved a pass rate of 90.2% and 82.5% respectively, making Fezile Dabi the top performing district nationally with schools that fall within Quintile 1, 2 and 3. This is a good example to other rural districts that good academic results are possible with adequate support.

In the case of the Fezile Dabi and Motheo districts, KST has been implementing the District Whole School Development Model (DWSDPM) for the past three years, which has seen a steady increase and improvement in academic performance amongst learners where the programme has been rolled out. In 2013, Free State matriculants scored the highest pass rate with 87.4%. The class of 2014 came in at third place, with 81.6%. The Free State was again at the top in 2016 with a pass rate of 88.2% and, in 2017, retained the number one position nationally at 86%.

The top performing schools in the Fezile Dabi district that received a 100% pass rate include Nampo Secondary School, Rehauhetswe Secondary School and Sandersville Comprehensive. The top achiever from a KST school in Motheo is Jonase Kagisho Peace from Kgauho Secondary School.

“We are proud of our learners, educators, and principals for their achievements,” Nontando Mthethwa, Communications Chair at KST said.

“This is attributed to our partnership with the Free State Department of Education and the parents who have unreservedly continued to support their children throughout their studies.

“2018 will mark the fifth year of the seven-year partnership, and we look forward to a sustainable exit in 2020 where schools will be able to continue on an upward trajectory well after the programme,” she said.

What sets the DWSDPM apart?

The model is unique in that it looks at supporting the school’s entire system by adopting a district approach to maximise the impact of the programme. This has seen 225 schools from the Fezile Dabi and Motheo districts benefit and receive support aimed at addressing capacity building, governance and stakeholder engagement, key socio-economic issues as well as a sustainability roadmap for sustained impact.

The model is also driven by the Theory of Change. The theory states that if educators are capacitated through professional development and training, and the school environment is improved through investment in infrastructure, curriculum development and leadership support while the district office is strengthened, then a significant improvement in sustainable learner performance may be seen.

“Despite the many challenges that rural schools face, such as quality teacher retention due to teacher migration to peri-urban and urban schools; lack of resources and infrastructure; and socio-economic inequalities facing communities, public-private-partnerships with a common vision need to be encouraged to address these challenges and change the narrative to deliver good quality education and support to rural schools,” Mthethwa said.

Additional support provided by the programme includes the introduction of subject forums at school level, designed to create a community of support and knowledge within the schools. Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) at cluster level were also introduced in order to make it possible for all educators of all supported schools to converge at a common place and discuss curriculum issues relevant to their subjects. PLCs provided a platform for educators, Subjects Advisors and KST mentors to share best practices, discuss challenges experienced by the schools as well as provide feedback on previous assessments. PLCs also form the basis of the sustainability strategy of KST to ensure skills transfer and sound practices long after KST has exited.


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NSC Results 2017: SA FM Interview

SA FM NSC Results interview with the Minister of Basic Education. She gave mention to Kagiso Trust and Cyril Ramaphosa Foundation and their impact in the Free State.

Her interview starts at 14:30 into the broadcast.

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Matric Results 2017: Minister Angie Motshekga’s Speech

Keynote Address by the Minister of Basic Education, Mrs Angie Motshekga, MP, Delivered at the Release of NSC Examination Results for 2017 held at SABC – Radio, Auckland Park

04 January 2017

Good Evening Fellow South Africans!


Strategic direction in the basic education sector

Today we have gathered here to announce the 2017 National Senior Certificate examination results.  The NSC examination results, are one of the most important barometers to evaluate progress made by Government in improving access, redress, equity, efficiency, and the quality of teaching and learning outcomes, through the implementation of the Medium-Term Strategic Framework and the National Strategy for Learner Attainment (NLSA).

As we implement our Medium-Term Strategic Framework and the NSLA, we have an obligation to ensure a seamless implementation of the regional, continental and international declarations, as well as the recommendations from regional and international assessment studies, in order to ensure that the critical principles of access, redress, equity, efficiency and quality, anchor our work, programmes, interventions, progress, and achievements.

Building a solid and foundation for teaching and learning

We should always remember that if we have to further improve the outcomes of the schooling system, we will have to continue to improve the fundamental quality of teaching and learning, well before Grade 12.

We are increasingly prioritising interventions and policies that target an improved quality of learning and teaching, and implementing accountability systems to ensure that quality outcomes are achieved.  More specifically, we have deliberately prioritised early Grade literacy.  This is necessary to respond pointedly to the concerns raised in the PIRLS 2016, SACMEQ IV – 2013, and the TIMMS 2015 reports.  These reports are available in our website.


2017 National Senior Certificate Examination Results

As we analyse the 2016 NSC examination results, we wish to remind the South African public about the main purpose of the National Senior Certificate examinations.  The primary purpose of these examinations is to provide learners with an exit qualification.  We however, are able to also glean on the progress we are making as a country to provide access to an inclusive, equitable, quality and efficient basic education to our children.  These results are intended to do exactly just that.

The effects of our interventions are beginning to result in improved teaching and learning outcomes.  We have reported that the skills of learners have improved.  Ambitious policy shifts by government, combined with the efforts and commitment of the thousands of people who work in our schools, especially our principals, teachers and parents, are paying off.  Available scientific comparisons of the quality of learning outcomes over time, indicate noteworthy improvements in recent years.


Profile:  Class of 2017

The Class of 2017 is the tenth cohort of learners to sit for the National Senior Certificate, and the fourth cohort to write CAPS-aligned NSC Examinations.  The Class of 2017 has recorded the third highest enrolment of Grade 12 learners in the history of the basic education system in South Africa.

The total number of candidates, who registered for the November 2017 NSC examinations, was 802 431; comprising 629 155 full-time candidates, and 173 276 part-time candidates.  Of these candidates, 534 484 full-time candidates, and 117 223 part-time candidates, wrote the 2017 NSC examinations.


2017 NSC examinations declared as “incident free”

Fellow South Africans, I am glad to announce that the Umalusi, the Council for Quality Assurance in General and Further Education and Training, has declared the 2017 NSC examinations as “fair, valid and credible“.  Umalusi declared that the 2017 NSC examinations were “largely incident free”, with a few minor disruptions in some parts of the country.  This, Umalusi said, is testament “to the success of the heightened vigilance and rigid measures put in place by the DBE”.


Performance of the progressed learners

The criteria for learner progression introduced in 2013, were streamlined in 2017.  The South African public will recall the learner progression policy encouraged provinces to progress or condone over-aged learners, who have repeated Grade 11 more than once, and give them extra support to sit for the NSC examinations; or allow them to modularise their examinations.  In the latter case, progressed learners wrote part of the 2017 NSC examinations in November 2017, and the rest could be written in June 2018.

The support provided to progressed learners by provinces is important, particularly for learners who come from poorer communities.  You know that affluent communities arrange extra tuition for their children at extra costs.  Provinces on the other hand, go out of their way to provide progressed learners with extra support; and this, provinces do without any additional budget.

Consequently, in 2017, we saw the second largest number of progressed learners, since the policy was promulgated in 2013.  An analysis of the raw data on progressed learners paints, an extremely interesting picture, particularly for this year.  For the Class of 2017, we had 107 430 registered progressed learners.

34 011 progressed learners wrote the requisite seven subjects during the 2017 NSC examinations.  The rest of the learners, are modularising their examinations, as I had already explained earlier.  Of the progressed learners, who wrote the 2017 NSC examinations, 18 751 passed; which represents 55.1% of all progressed learners, and 4.7% of all learners, who passed the 2017 NSC examinations.  5.6% achieved Bachelor passes; 25.2% achieved Diploma passes; 24.3% achieved Higher Certificate passes; and 10 achieved NSC passes.  A total of 1 801 distinctions was attained, including distinctions in critical subjects, such as Accounting, Business Studies, Economics, Mathematics and Physical Science.

The significance of these achievements, is that the 18 751 progressed learners, who passed the 2017 NSC examinations – the would-be-high-school repeaters and dropouts if they were not progressed, now have a golden opportunity to access either university or TVET College.

This is positive indeed, especially when the NDP enjoins us to mediate the high drop-out rate of learners from the basic schooling system by increasing the learner retention rate to 90%, and allowing for an increase in the number of learners entering vocational and occupational pathways.  The second chance programme, the learner progression policy, and the incremental introduction of the three-stream model – which include quality technical-vocational and quality technical-occupational programmes in the Basic Education sector, directly address this NDP directive.

I wish to remind South Africans that the second chance programme and the learner progression policy were introduced to redress the inequalities of the past, by creating a conduit through which young people could be afforded a second chance in life, rather than adding to the large number of young people, who are neither in education, nor employed, nor in any form of training – the so-called NEETs.  These programmes were intended to improve the access and retention of learners in the system, and improve the internal efficiency of the system.

We wish to thank all provinces, especially Gauteng, Free State, Mpumalanga, and KwaZulu Natal for the extra support and pointed interventions they gave to these learners.  If these provinces did not do this, some of the progressed young people, could have fallen through the cracks of the system, due to continuous repetition and ultimate drop-out from the system.  We encourage the other provinces to take a leaf from these four provinces, which supported the progressed learners to the extent necessary.


Learners with Special Education Needs

We strongly believe that an Inclusive Education system, makes an immense contribution towards an inclusive economy to serve an inclusive society.  Providing learners with special education needs access to quality basic education programmes, is an imperative, based on the Constitutional principles of equity and redress, among others.  We have for the past few years included the learners with special education needs in tracking learner performance in the NSC.

2 777 learners with special education needs, wrote 2017 NSC examinations – an increase of 42.8% from 2016.  906 and 789 of these learners achieved Bachelor and Diploma passes, respectively.  307 achieved Higher Certificate passes; 2 achieved NSC passes; and 121 achieved endorsed NSC passes.

This means that 77.2% of the learners with special education needs, who wrote the 2017 NSC examinations, passed.  Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal should be congratulated for their combined contribution of Bachelor passes of 80.2% – an increase of 3.5% from 2016; and the combined contribution of Diploma passes of 70.1% – an increase of 4.1% from 2016.

1 956 distinctions were achieved by the learners with special education needs, including distinctions in the critical subjects, such as Accounting, Business Studies, Economics, Mathematics and Physical Science.  The Western Cape’s contribution, is the largest with 1 599 distinctions.


The benefits of the “pro-poor” policies of Government on the Grade 12 examination results, with progressed learners included

In the 2017 NSC examination results, the poverty ranking of schools in terms quintiles 1 to 5, revealed the following interesting trends.  The NSC passes for quintiles 1 to 3 schools (“no fee” schools) combined, stand at 243 260; compared to 138 525 for quintiles 4 and 5 schools (fee-paying schools).

The Bachelor passes achieved by learners in “no fee” schools, stand at 76 300; while fee-paying schools produced 67 867 Bachelor.  This implies that in 2017, “no fee” schools produced 53% of the Bachelor passes (compared to 52% in 2016, and 51% in 2015); while fee-paying schools produced 47% Bachelor passes (compared to 48% in 2016, and 49% in 2015).  The significance of this, is that the gap between the Bachelor passes produced by “no fee” schools versus those produced by fee-paying schools in 2016 of 4%, has increased to 6% in 2017.

This is poignant, as it points to a remarkable shift in the balance of forces.  From 2015 to date, greater equity was observed despite the reality that inequalities still remain in the system.  Government must be applauded for its pro-poor polices, which in the Basic Education arena, alleviate poverty through a variety of interventions – among others, the pro-poor funding of schools; the provision of nutritious meals on a daily basis; and the provision of scholar transport to deserving learners on daily basis.

These interventions, called the “social wage” by the Statistics South Africa, continue to improve access to schools, increase the retention of learners in schools, promote equity immeasurably in the Basic Education system; and improve substantively the quality of educational outcomes in our system.  What a great story to tell!!!

The 2017 NSC examination results are also telling us that, for every fee-paying school, which achieved at 60% to 79.9% pass rate, there are more than five “no fee” schools achieving at the same level.  Similarly, for every fee-paying school, achieving at the 80% to 100% pass rate, there are almost two “no fee” schools achieving at the same pass rate.  An exactly 100% pass rate, was achieved equally by fee-paying as well as “no fee” schools.  This is indeed a good story to tell!!!

In February 2017 I tasked the National Education Evaluation Unit in the Department to conduct a study on Schools that Work, and particularly lift the characteristics of both primary and secondary schools that work across the system.  You may recall that the NDP enjoins us to “recognise top-performing schools as national assets”.  It further directs that “the support of these schools should be enlisted to assist [in uplifting] underperforming schools”.

The Schools that Work study, affirmed that there are schools that are doing exceptional work, and these schools include “no fee” schools.  An example that has been identified, is a quintile 1 school in Limpopo, which serves the poorest of the poor in that province.  This school continues to achieve within the top 1.5% of all public schools, and performs better than 87% of the best-resourced schools in the country.  There are similar schools that were identified in other provinces, which are universally serviced by teachers who go to extraordinary measures to help their learners to achieve, despite their circumstances.  These schools, principals, teachers, parents and learners are definitely our national assets, and their selfless efforts must be celebrated.


Learners receiving social grants

79.7% of the learners, who were recipients of some form of social grants, who wrote the 2017 NSC examinations, passed.  5 016 of them achieved Bachelor passes; 5 997 achieved Diploma passes; 2 863 achieved Higher Certificate passes; and 2 achieved NSC passes.  These learners also achieved 500 distinctions, including distinctions in critical subjects such as Accounting, Business Studies, economics, Mathematics and Physical Science.

Clearly, the Government’s pro-poor policies have made an indelible contribution in these young people’s lives.  It is indisputable, that without such assistance and support, these young people could have been lost to posterity.  We must commend the Department of Social Department for the “social wage” and support they provided.


Performance of the Districts

The NDP recognises districts as a crucial interface of the basic education sector in identifying best practice, sharing information, and providing support to schools.  The continued growth in the performance of districts is closely monitored by both the provincial and national education departments.  In 2017, the Eastern Cape has rationalised the number of districts from 23 to 12; which has reduced the number of districts from 81 to 70 nationally.

In 2017, 66 of the 70 districts (94% of our districts) attained pass rates of 60% and above; and 31 of the 70 districts (44.3%) attained pass rates of 80% and above.  Regrettably, 4 of the 70 districts (5.7%) achieved pass rates lower than 60%.  For the first time, no district has performed below 50%.

The top 10 performing districts in the country, in the descending order, with the progressed learners included, are as follows –

  • First, is Fezile Dabi in the Free State with 2%;
  • Second, is Thabo Mafutsanyana in the Free State with 90%;
  • Third, is Tshwane South in Gauteng with 8%;
  • Fourth, is Ekurhuleni North in Gauteng with 1%;
  • Fifth, is Tshwane North in Gauteng with 9%;
  • Tied at sixth, are Gauteng West and Johannesburg West in Gauteng with 6%;
  • Eighth, is Sedibeng East in Gauteng with 9%;
  • Ninth, is Johannesburg East in Gauteng with 8%; and
  • Tenth, is Overberg in the Western Cape with 7%.


The top performing districts in their respective provinces, in the ascending order, with progressed learners included, are as follows –

  • Nelson Mandela Metro in the Eastern Cape with 6%;
  • Vhembe in Limpopo with 6%;
  • Ehlanzeni in Mpumalanga with 8%;
  • Umgungundlovu in KwaZulu Natal with 5%;
  • Ngaka M Molema in the North West with 5%;
  • Namaqua in the Northern Cape with 83%;
  • Overberg in the Western Cape with 7%;
  • Tshwane South in Gauteng with 8%; and
  • Fezile Dabi in the Free State with 2%.


Performance of the Provinces

The Council of Education Ministers had agreed that the reporting on the NSC examination results, should first, exclude the performance of progressed learners; and second, include their performance.

First, a glimpse is given, in an ascending order, on how provinces performed, with progressed learners excluded

  • Eastern Cape attained 8%, an increase of 2.5% from 2016;
  • Limpopo attained 4%, a decline of 0.8% from 2016;
  • KwaZulu-Natal attained 6%, an increase of 4.1% from 2016;
  • Mpumalanga attained 6%, a decline of 4.7% from 2016;
  • Northern Cape attained 6%, a decline of 4.6% from 2016;
  • North West attained 1%, a decline of 4.1% from 2016;
  • Western Cape attained 4%, a decline of 3.3% from 2016;
  • Gauteng attained 86%, a decline of 1% from 2016; and
  • Free State attained 8%, a decline of 3.4% from 2016.

We must applaud the four provinces that retained their 80% plus pass status.

Now, let me announce the results achieved by the provinces with progressed learners includedTwo provinces attained lower than 70%, and these are –

  • Eastern Cape achieved 65%, improved by 7% from 2016 – the second largest improvement in the country; and
  • Limpopo achieved 6%, up by 3.1% from 2016.

Four provinces achieved above 70%, and these are –

  • KwaZulu-Natal achieved 8%, improving by 6.4% from 2016 – the largest improvement in the country;
  • Mpumalanga achieved 8%, a decline of 2.3% from 2016;
  • Northern Cape achieved 6%, a decline of 3.1% from 2016;
  • North West achieved 4%, a decline of 3.1% from 2016;

The following provinces achieved above 80%

  • Western Cape achieved 7%, a decline of 3.2% from 2016;
  • Gauteng achieved 1%, the same pass rate as in 2016.
  • The top-performing province in 2017 is the Free State, which achieved 86%, down by 2% from 2016. Congratulations to MEC Tate Makgoe and your team!!!

We can see that the 2017 NSC examination results with progressed learners, dispel the myth that progressed learners adversely affect the overall results.  Certainly, this was not the case, particularly in the Eastern Cape, Gauteng, KwaZulu Natal, and Limpopo.  In fact, in KwaZulu Natal, the results with progressed learners included, are better than those without the progressed learners.

We have noted the upward trend in the performance of our three most rural provinces, namely, Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo.  51.5% of the candidates, who wrote the 2017 NSC examinations, come from these three rural provinces.  Remarkably, 68.7% of the candidates, who wrote the 2017 NSC examinations passed.  More remarkably, these three provinces combined, produced 44.8% Bachelor passes, which translates to almost 45 Bachelor passes per 100 produced anywhere else in the country.

Three years ago, we had declared that we would continue to pay particular attention to the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu Natal and Limpopo, so that we can improve the overall performance of our learners through the Grades.  The improvement in these rural provinces, is a clear indication that our pointed interventions, based on our National Strategy for Learner Attainment, have begun to bear good fruit.  What we dare not do, is to drop the ball.  We must continue with our pointed interventions, so that the levels of teaching and learning outcomes in these three rural provinces, continue to rise.


Overall national performance

This brings us to the 2016 NSC examination overall results.  For the past seven years, we have noted that the NSC pass rate has consistently been above the 70% threshold.  The Class of 2017 must be commended for maintaining this trend.  The 2017 NSC overall pass rate, with the progressed learners excluded, stands at 76.5%, a 0.3% improvement from the 76.2% achieved in 2016.

However, with the progressed learners included, the overall pass rate, stands at 75.1%, a 2.6% improvement from the 72.5% achieved in 2016.  This, represents a total of 401 435 candidates, who had passed the 2017 NSC examinations.  Well done to the Class of 2017!!!

Further analysis of the results show that, of the number of candidates, who wrote the 2017 NSC examinations –

  • 153 610 achieved Bachelor passes (equivalent to 7%);
  • 161 333 passed with a Diploma (equivalent to 2%);
  • 86 265 passed with Higher Certificates (equivalent to 1%) and
  • 99 passed with a National Senior Certificate.

It is important to note that a total of 314 943 candidates (equivalent to 78.5%), who achieved Bachelor and Diploma passes, are eligible to register for studies at higher education institutions.  The 86 364 candidates (equivalent to 21.5%), who obtained certificate passes, may register at TVET Colleges and other skills training institutions.  We encourage the 133 049 candidates, who did not make it, to register for the Second Chance programme.

In 2017, a total of 161 081 distinctions were achieved, an improvement of 1.8% from 2016.  The main contributors are KZN with 28%; Gauteng with 22.4%; Western Cape with 15.5%; Limpopo with 9.5%; and Eastern Cape with 9%.  It is remarkable to note that the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu Natal and Limpopo produced a combined 46.5% of the total distinctions achieved nationally.

In the 12 key subjects (including Accounting, Business Studies, Economics, Mathematics, and Physical Science among others), the total number of distinctions stands at 62 154, a decline of 4.6% from 2016.  The number of distinctions attained specifically in the gateway subjects is as follows:

  • 5 040 distinctions were achieved in Accounting;
  • 6 726 distinctions were achieved in Mathematics; and
  • 7 861 distinctions were achieved in Physical Science.


Aggregation according to gender

There are 65 007 more girls than boys, who enrolled for the 2017 NSC examinations; and there are 57 918 more girls than boys, who wrote the 2017 NSC examinations.  Overall, there are 217 387 girls, compared 184 048 boys, who passed the 2017 NSC examinations.  When translated into percentages, 73.4% girls and 77.2% boys passed the 2017 NSC examinations.

There are 28.5% female candidates, who obtained Bachelor passes, compared to 29% of their male candidates; 28.4% female candidates obtained Diploma passes, compared to 32.4% of their male counterparts; 16.4% female candidates obtained Higher Certificate passes, compared to 15.8% of their male counterparts.  62.6% of the distinctions were attained by female candidates, including distinctions in critical subjects such as Accounting, Business Studies, Economics, Mathematics, and Physical Science.

Clearly, our gender-based intervention programmes have uplifted the performance levels of the girl child.  While this is plausible, we must make a concerted effort to provide similar interventions for the boy child.  Even the regional and international assessment studies, implore us to do so.



Fellow South Africans, we will be the first to concede that despite the notable stability of and improvements in our system, we are yet to cross our own Rubicon.  We must agree that much has been achieved, but much more needs to be done in the areas of efficiency and quality.  We call upon all South Africans to work together with us to move the public schooling to greater heights.

Once again, I take off my hat to the Class of 2017, and I wish them the best in their future.  I believe that you will continue to shine wherever you are.  Speaking of success, Madiba said: “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear; but the triumph over it.  The brave man (sic) is not he, who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”

In celebrating the Class of 2017, I must also thank the principals, teachers, and parents for the work they continue to do.  What you do at the school level, is what matters the most.  The nation had put the future of our learners in your hands, and you delivered.  We applaud you for the great work you continue to do on a daily basis.

I thank you.



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