Category Archives: News

Minister announces plan to address crime

Police Minister Fikile Mbalula has announced a plan that will strengthen police operations on the ground in an effort to fight crime.

Last year, the Minister revealed his intentions to reduce head office costs at the South African Police Service (SAPS), through a process of de-escalation of the top tier management to newly drawn boundaries in a regionalisation plan.

Addressing a media briefing on Wednesday, Minister Mbalula said the plan will see the national police complementing the work of the provincial commissioners and lessening their burdens.

Regionalisation will first focus on particular high waiting areas and hotspots. The goal is to reduce violent crime sharply by targeting the known high crime geographical areas. In our own evaluation we thought that we are dealing with a top heavy structure in our head office.

They are doing an important job but the reality is that the crime that we are fighting is on the ground, he said.

The pilot on regionalisation will be a phased focus starting with Gauteng in February followed by the Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and then the Eastern Cape.

Minister Mbalula said regionalisation will add new impetus and experience closer to the people in critical regions and critical police stations which will now have Majors-General and Lieutenants-General.

Regionalisation is one of the most important changes in police resources deployment in over a decade in our country. In essence we are revolutionising the manner police work. We are changing the way we understand crime and the way we respond to it.

"Our people are under siege from violent criminals, greedy public and private sector officials. We must unleash the might of the state power unto them," he said.

National Police Commissioner General Khehla Sitole said regionalisation is an operational concept and it will enhance policing on the ground.

All the regional commissioners are there to enhance operational policing on the ground. They will not be doing administration and they will not do administrative functions.

The main objective for this is also to bring the authority closer to the people which also includes the experience [of top management] because most of the criminals that we are dealing with are experienced and strategic criminals, Sitole said.

Lt. Gen Richard Mdluli relieved of duties

Minister Mbalula also announced that Lt. Gen Richard Mdluli who held the position of Divisional Commissioner has been relieved from his duties.

I have instructed General Sitole to henceforth set out to appoint a fit and proper man or woman into the position without further delay, he said.

Source: South African Government News Agency

Minister Malusi Gigaba meets budget committee in Pretoria, 16 Jan

The Minister of Finance Malusi Gigaba is meeting other ministers and treasury officials that are part of the committee on the budget. The meeting will discuss amongst other issues the macroeconomic forecast and economic outlook, preliminary fiscal framework and division of revenue as well as key tax policy issues for the 2018 Budget.

This meeting is part of many meetings that will be held in the coming weeks and indicates the consultative nature of the budget process.

Photographers and broadcast media are invited for a photo opportunity.

Interested media can arrive at 40 Church Square, Pretoria as from 11h30 to take visuals and photos after which the Minister of Finance will make a few remarks about the meeting.

Source: Government of South Africa

Capricorn TVET gives students another chance to apply

The Department of Higher Education and Training has given students another chance to apply at the Capricorn Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) College in Polokwane.

I am aware of the long queues at Peter Mokaba Stadium and have asked the principal to go and speak to them and allay their fears. There is no need to be in queues overnight, as all students will be allowed to apply for available spaces on Monday from 6am, said Deputy Minister Buti Manamela.

The Deputy Minister will visit the registration centre set up by Capricorn TVET College at the Peter Mokaba Stadium, Polokwane, on Monday.

The Deputy Minister advised that those who can should consider approaching Waterberg and Lephalale TVET colleges that still have spaces available.

I am pleased at the demand for education by our youth and excited that we are indeed making education fashionable. This also shows that TVET colleges should invest in better IT systems to ensure smooth and hassle free registration process, said the Deputy Minister.

I will be visiting the pop-up registration centre at Peter Mokaba Stadium this morning to monitor the registration process. I urge students to cooperate with staff and management of the institution so that we conclude the registration process quickly, said Deputy Minister Manamela.

The Deputy Minister will also visit the University of Limpopo and Tshwane University of Technology.

He urged political parties to refrain from heightening tensions around access to free higher education.

I also urge political parties to exercise restraint in their communications and not heighten tensions in an already volatile and emotional situation. At the end of the day, the education of the African child remains our priority.

We should not prey on the anxiety of poor and working class young people, whose only interest is to access free education. Let's all work together to achieve this and build a better South Africa, said the Deputy Minister.

Source: South African Government News Agency

Manamela urges TVET colleges to be ready for late applications

Higher Education and Training Deputy Minister Buti Manamela has advised management at Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges to have plans in place to deal with late walk-in applicants.

While he emphasised that online applications remain the primary method for applications at higher education institutions, management must in any event be ready for those who seek placement outside of the set registration dates.

You need to allow as many students as possible, with obvious consideration to enrolment plans and available resources. It is clear that some people would like to take advantage of the situation by festering confusion and distortion in order to achieve political goals, the Deputy Minister said.

He held a meeting with the principals of all TVET colleges at Ekurhuleni West TVET College in Germiston on Thursday. It was an opportunity for the Deputy Minister to get an update on the registration processes and challenges that TVET colleges are experiencing.

TVET colleges � previously known as further education and training (FET) colleges � provide theoretical and practical training for graduates to help the country close the skills gap in certain major sectors.

Capricon college stable

Deputy Minister Manamela was also briefed on the situation at the Polokwane campus of Capricorn TVET college in Limpopo.

A stampede broke out when the students were queueing for admission for the 2018 academic year at the campus, leaving several students injured.

College principal Amos Tema informed the Deputy Minister that the situation has now stabilised.

Following a thorough risk assessment of the Polokwane campus facilities, a decision has been taken by college management to suspend registration at the institution until Monday.

We appeal to all prospective students to ensure that they have all the necessary documents to enable the colleges to handle their applications and registration swiftly. I urge all students to follow the procedures for application and registration so that we can [start] learning and teaching on Monday.

We remain grateful for the outstanding work by our security personnel, the police and paramedics in the manner in which they managed the situation, Deputy Minister Manamela said.

Discussions are underway between college management, the city council of Polokwane and the South African Police Service to identify an alternative and more suitable venue for registration.

Meanwhile, on Friday, the Deputy Minister is scheduled to visit the Walter Sisulu University East London Postdam Campus and Buffalo City TVET College East London Campus. These visits as part of the ongoing effort to ensure that the implementation of fee-free higher education for poor and working-class students runs smoothly across institutions of higher learning, together with the admissions and registration process that go with it.

Source: South African Government News Agency

NSFAS retained as financial aid administrator

The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) says it is happy with being retained as the administrator of financial aid for poor and working-class South African students.

The NSFAS board and management is encouraged by the decision to retain NSFAS as an administrator of financial aid for poor and working-class South African students at universities and TVET colleges through the student centred-model, said NSFAS Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Steven Zwane.

The student financial aid scheme was kept as the administrator after the announcement of free education for poor and working class students by President Jacob Zuma on 16 December 2017.

We believe that the decision to increase the threshold to qualify for financial assistance to students from South African households with a combined annual income of up to R350 000 per annum reaffirms government's commitment to opening access for poor and working class youth and to ensure success in higher education and training, said the financial aid scheme in a statement on Thursday.

The organisation said it will work on reviewing its business model to implement these changes for the 2018 academic year and beyond.

We have worked tirelessly to improve our systems, working closely with universities, TVET colleges and the Department of Higher Education (DHET) for 2018 and will adjust our systems to deal with the extended financial aid and the expected increase in the number of students who now qualify for financial assistance, said Zwane.

NSFAS is of the view that this pronouncement, which involves doing away with the loan portion of the funding, will expand the reach and impact of free education that government has been providing through NSFAS over the years.

NSFAS has been providing elements of free education through provision of bursaries to TVET college students over the years, as well as some university students, whose final year loans were converted to bursaries based on their academic performance.

We are proud to have provided financial assistance to more than three million beneficiaries since our establishment in 1991 and we are pleased to continue to build on this legacy, said NSFAS.

The organisation said this will be the most crucial time of the year as it defines new ways of working to ensure an integrated approach to managing financial aid for its current beneficiaries and first time entry (FTEN) students.

We thank the government for the opportunity to continue transforming the lives of young people in South Africa. NSFAS is consistently working and communicating with DHET, institutions and key stakeholders on the rollout of the new funding scheme and is resourcing and aligning its operations accordingly, said NSFAS.

Source: South African Government News Agency

DP Ramaphosa to lead SA delegation to WEF

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa will lead the South African delegation to the 48th World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting from 23 - 26 January in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland.

The meeting will take place under the theme 'Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World', and will promote renewed commitment to international collaboration as a way of solving critical global challenges.

The meeting will bring together over 2 500 leaders from business, government, international organisations, civil society, academia and the arts.

The Deputy President led the delegation to the 2017 Davos meeting as well.

The South African delegation will comprise Ministers and business leaders, with the Minister of Finance, Malusi Gigaba, as the lead Minister and coordinator.

President Jacob Zuma has wished the delegation well in the annual meeting, which provides an important platform to market and showcase the country to global business and other key international stakeholders.

President Zuma will lead the country's delegation to the 30th African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, scheduled to take place from 22 - 29 January 2018. He will attend the African Peer Review Mechanism/NEPAD sessions on 27 January and the 30th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Heads of State and Government of the African Union scheduled to take place 28 - 29 January 2018.

Source: South African Government News Agency

Brand South Africa welcomes South Africa’s improvement in 2017 ...

South Africa's financial sector continues to be one of the largest among emerging markets

Brand South Africa welcomes South Africa's improvement in the 2017 Index of Economic Freedom. South Africa's 2017 ranking is 81 out of 180 countries, with an overall economic freedom score of 62.3, making it a 'moderately free' economy. The score is up by 0.4 points from 2016 when it scored 61.9.

Released by the Heritage Foundation, the Index covers 10 types of economic freedom, grouped into four categories - from property rights to entrepreneurship. Each of these categories is graded on a scale of 0 to 100, where a higher score is indicative of a better performance.

South Africa's improvement in the rankings comes as a result of advancements in the areas of property rights which is up from 50 in 2016 to 67.6 in 2017, government integrity scores at 47.6 in 2017 compared to 44 in 2016, and this year, judicial effectiveness ranks at 59.7� all of which form part of the Rule of Law category in the 2017 Economic Freedom Index.

Brand South Africa's CEO, Dr Kingsley Makhubela said: South Africa's property rights are relatively well protected, and contracts are generally secure hence the improvement to 67.6 in 2017. The World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Index (WEF GCI) indicates that South Africa benefits from strong institutions and an independent legal framework, and therefore it is no surprise that our strongest performance indicator in this index is anchored on the category of Rule of Law.

South Africa's financial sector continues to be one of the largest among emerging markets. Positioned at 81 from 180 countries, with the overall economic freedom score of 62.3 � the country continues to outperform its BRICS counterparts.

China ranks 111 of 180 countries, with a score of 57.4 for economic freedom, Russia is positioned at 114 of 180 countries with a score of 57.1 for economic freedom, Brazil and India are ranked at 140 and 143 of 180 countries and both have economic freedom scores of 52.9 and 52.6 respectively.

We are pleased with the upward trend of the nation's competitive performance, particularly since 2017 was a year of great concern which saw South Africa slip into a technical recession for the time since 2009, which it moved out of after the economy expanded by 2.5% in the second quarter of 2017. The country also experienced a declined performance in the 2017-2018 WEF GCI, which sees the country's ranking at 61 out of 137 economies assessed in the annual survey � a regression of 14 positions from the 2016-2017 WEF GCI results.

It is therefore promising that South Africa, according to the 2017 Index of Economic Freedom, is 'moderately free' in terms of its economic activity. Economic freedom is about much more than a business environment where business flourishes, it has a far reaching impact on other aspects such as human development and the power of choice. Consequently, it remains imperative for South Africa to continue safeguarding openness to its market, government size and rule of law, concluded Dr Makhubela.

Source: Government of South Africa

Minister Angie Motshekga: Release of NSC Examination Results

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 90.2%;

Second, is Thabo Mafutsanyana in the Free State with 90%;

Third, is Tshwane South in Gauteng with 89.8%;

Fourth, is Ekurhuleni North in Gauteng with 89.1%;

Fifth, is Tshwane North in Gauteng with 88.9%;

Tied at sixth, are Gauteng West and Johannesburg West in Gauteng with 88.6%;

Eighth, is Sedibeng East in Gauteng with 87.9%;

Ninth, is Johannesburg East in Gauteng with 87.8%; and

Tenth, is Overberg in the Western Cape with 87.7%.

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 72.6%;

Vhembe in Limpopo with 76.6%;

Ehlanzeni in Mpumalanga with 76.8%;

Umgungundlovu in KwaZulu Natal with 81.5%;

Ngaka M Molema in the North West with 82.5%;

Namaqua in the Northern Cape with 83%;

Overberg in the Western Cape with 87.7%;

Tshwane South in Gauteng with 89.8%; and

Fezile Dabi in the Free State with 90.2%.

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 65.8%, an increase of 2.5% from 2016;

Limpopo attained 67.4%, a decline of 0.8% from 2016;

KwaZulu-Natal attained 73.6%, an increase of 4.1% from 2016;

Mpumalanga attained 76.6%, a decline of 4.7% from 2016;

Northern Cape attained 77.6%, a decline of 4.6% from 2016;

North West attained 82.1%, a decline of 4.1% from 2016;

Western Cape attained 84.4%, a decline of 3.3% from 2016;

Gauteng attained 86%, a decline of 1% from 2016; and

Free State attained 89.8%, 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 included. Two provinces attained lower than 70%, and these are �

Eastern Cape achieved 65%, improved by 5.7% from 2016 � the second largest improvement in the country; and

Limpopo achieved 65.6%, up by 3.1% from 2016.

Four provinces achieved above 70%, and these are �

KwaZulu-Natal achieved 72.8%, improving by 6.4% from 2016 � the largest improvement in the country;

Mpumalanga achieved 74.8%, a decline of 2.3% from 2016;

Northern Cape achieved 75.6%, a decline of 3.1% from 2016;

North West achieved 79.4%, a decline of 3.1% from 2016;

The following provinces achieved above 80% �

Western Cape achieved 82.7%, a decline of 3.2% from 2016;

Gauteng achieved 85.1%, the same pass rate as in 2016.

The top performing province in 2017 is the Free State, which achieved 86%, down by 2.2% from 2016. Congratulations to MEC Tate Mekgoe 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 28.7%);

161 333 passed with a Diploma (equivalent to 30.2%);

86 265 passed with Higher Certificates (equivalent to 16.1%) 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.

Conclusion

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.

Source: Government of South Africa