Address by Honourable Premier R.M. Mtshweni-Tsipane on the occasion of the announcement of the 2021 matric results

21 January 2022

Programme Director;
Members of the Executive Council present;
Executive Mayors in our midst;
The Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Education, Sports, Arts and Culture, Mr. Pat Ngomane;
The Judge President of the Mpumalanga Division of the High Court, Mr. Francis Legodi;
The Vice Chancellor of the University of Mpumalanga, Professor Mayekiso;
The Senior Management of the Mpumalanga Provincial Government, led by the Director General, Mr. Makhukhu Mampuru;
Officials from the Department of Education, led by the Head of Department, Ms. Lucy Moyane;
Leaders of Education Sector Unions;
Representative of the South African Council for Educators;
Leaders of the Tripartite Alliance;
Leadership of the Progressive Youth Alliance;
Our special guests, the top achievers from the Matric class of 2021;
Ladies and Gentlemen;
Good morning;

  1. Programme Director, it is a unique honour and privilege to join you all today as we announce the National Senior Certificate (NSC) examination results.

  2. I wish to take this opportunity to extend warm greetings to all citizens of the Province and to express best wishes for the year 2022.

  3. We gather 9 days after all schools in the Province commenced the 2022 academic year.

  4. We were encouraged by the successful and seamless manner in which our academic calendar has commenced.

  5. I’d like to extend our sincere appreciation to all parents, teachers, school management teams, teacher unions, Members of school governing bodies and the business sector for creating an enabling environment for teaching and learning to thrive in the Province.

  6. Programme Director, we gather to announce the results of the class of 2021 acutely aware of the commitment of the ANC led government to provide decolonised education and training of the highest quality in order to attain a significant improvement in learner outcomes in accordance with the ideals of the National Development Plan 2030.

  7. 2021 was the second year in which matriculants wrote their final examinations in a Covid-19 constrained environment. Driven by resilience, this did not deter them from pressing on until they concluded their examinations.

  8. And so today, we are here to witness the fruits of their resilience, and the extent of the role played all stakeholders, especially the SGBs and parents.

  9. The assessments we conducted following the 2020 national senior certificate examinations have taught us a thing or two about the importance of improvement programmes, aimed at mitigating the devastating impact of Covid-19 in education.

  10. We learnt the importance of the following interventions;
    • The provision of supplementary materials such as textbooks, study guides, revision notes and worksheets;
    • Holiday classes during end of term breaks as well as morningand after-school classes;
    • Teacher development initiatives on content; and
    • The mobilisation of volunteer tutors;

  11. Programme Director, this gathering is about celebrating academic excellence across the length and breadth of our Province. We are here to salute the resilience of the human spirit within the education eco-system.

  12. Through the sacrifices and the extra effort of men and women in the midst of a devastating COVID 19 pandemic in the past two years, many lives were sparred, thus salvaging the entire education programme.

  13. I am reminded of the New Year message by His Excellency, President Cyril Matamela Ramaphosa. Key to his message was a clarion call for us to work together, to create united and inclusive communities that will birth our renewal as a nation, and our trajectory towards a sustainable post Covid-19 reality.

  14. The names of this cohort of learners shall be written in the annals of history as the biggest group registered to write the National Senior Certificate examination in our Province since the advent of our democratic dispensation.


  16. Programme Director, The Minister of Basic Education, Mrs. Angie Motshekga last night officially announced the 2021 National Senior Certificate Examination Results.

  17. She clearly articulated the challenges our learners had to endure and overcome.

  18. She further announced that the Mpumalanga Class of 2021 recorded a 73,6 overall pass rate.

  19. It is encouraging to note that since 2012, the Province has not reported an overall pass rate below 70%.

  20. Programme Director, 21 044 candidates obtained Bachelor passes, which open doors for them to further their studies in Institutions of higher learning. This figure represents 31,5% of the 2021 cohort of matriculants, which this is an improvement of 1,1% compared with the 30,4% in 2020.

  21. Programme Director, with your indulgence, may I request the audience to give the 2021 class a round of applause.


  23. Ehlanzeni District recorded the highest pass rate compared to the two other Districts by registering 75,6% as compared to 74,5% in 2020.

  24. This constitutes a 1,1% improvement. It is the only District that performed above the Provincial Average.

  25. This District also registered the highest number of candidates for the National Senior Certificate Examinations in the Province (19 173 candidates).

  26. Bohlabela recorded 74,2% as compared with 74,6% for 2020. This is a decline of 0,4%.

  27. The Districts of Nkangala and Gert Sibande both obtained 72,2% pass rate.


  29. Programme Director , it is a great pleasure to announce that learners within the confines of the Steve Tshwete Local Municipality recorded a pass rate that surpassed all the 17 local municipalities within the Province.

  30. They recorded an 82,2% pass rate. I wish to take this opportunity to congratulate the community of Steve Tshwete under the leadership of the Executive Mayor, Cllr Mhlonishwa Masilela.

  31. The top five municipalities in terms of learners domicile performance are :
    • Steve Tshwete;
    • Thaba Chweu;
    • Emalahleni;
    • Chief Albert Luthuli;
    • and Dipaleseng.


  33. Out of 71 Circuits within the Province, Mbombela is the overall best circuit by recording a 91,4% pass rate as compared with 90,3% in 2020. This is an improvement of 1,1%.

  34. We also wish to congratulate Maviljan and Nkululeko Circuits for being the most improved circuits for registering 73% and 70,3% respectively and it’s an improvement of 11,6% by both these circuits.

  35. Programme Director, it is encouraging to note that 45 out of 71 circuits performed above 60%. Slowly but surely we will achieve our goal of ensuring that all circuits perform above 60%.

  36. The top 10 performing circuits in the Province are;
    • Mbombela;
    • Steve Tshwete 03;
    • Msukaligwa 02;
    • White Hazy 01;
    • Dundonald
    • eMalahleni 01;
    • Thulamahashi
    • Mpuluzi
    • Steve Tshwete 01
    • Dwarsloop


  38. Programme Director, in 2021 the Province had a total of 559 examination centres administering grade 12 examinations.

  39. Learners in 19 of these Examination centers registered a 100% pass rate compared with 30 in 2020.

  40. Out of these 19 schools, 15 are fee paying schools whereas 4 are no fee paying schools.

  41. A total of 357 of our examination centres performed above 70% in 2021 and a total of 458 centres performed above 60%.


  43. Programme Director, the Province has recorded a total of 2021 schools with a pass rate of below 70%. We will continue to implement the interventions I referred to earlier to augment support to learners and improve performance at these schools.


  45. Programme Director, we are still committed to increasing participation and performance in the gate way subjects such as Mathematics, Physical Sciences and Technology.

  46. This is done to ensure that our learners are able to adapt to a rapidly developing world.

  47. The 101 OR Tambo MSTA Secondary Schools designated to offer Mathematics and Physical Sciences as mandatory subjects, have registered an overall pass rate of 65,9% in 2021.

  48. 28 580 candidates in the province wrote Mathematics and 15 443 passed. This reflects a pass rate of 54%.

  49. I have spoken to both the MEC and the Head of Department to pay special attention to this development. The Mathematics pass rate and uptake must be improved. We are targeting a 70 % mathematics pass rate by the year 2026.

  50. It is encouraging that 15 668 out of 25 471 learners that sat for the examinations, passed Physical Science as compared with 13 082 in 2020.

  51. This represents a 61,5% pass rate.


  53. Programme Director, we are pleased to announce that the 27 Technical Secondary schools in our province have obtained a 83,7% pass rate from a total of 3871 candidates. 1775 of these candidates have obtained admission for undergraduate degrees at institutions of higher learning and a total of 1062 have obtained admission to complete diplomas.


  55. We have established five boarding schools to guarantee quality education to learners from rural and farming communities.

  56. We are convinced that the decision we took to close small and unviable farm schools is justifiable, and is already yielding positive results.

  57. Out of these five boarding schools, four participated in this examination, and have performed as follows:
    • eMakhazeni Boarding School obtained a pass rate of 66,7%;
    • eZakheni Boarding School obtained a pass rate of 47,2%;
    • Shongwe Boarding School obtained a pass rate of 88,2%;
    • Izimbali Boarding School obtained a pass rate of 82,1%;

  58. Closing unviable and small schools will continue, in order to re-direct the resources elsewhere, where they are required the most.

  59. We further wish to confirm that the top three learners from each of these boarding schools will receive a full bursary from the Provincial Government to further their studies in an institution of higher learning of their choice.

  60. We reiterate our call that all boarding schools attain a 100% pass rate. We will therefore continue to work very closely with these schools for their realization of this target.


  62. Programme director, our statistics show that more female learners passed grade 12 compared to their male counterparts.

  63. There were 49133 learners who passed grade 12 and 26 918 of them are girls. We are encouraged by this outcome and commitment of the girl child towards acquiring education and as a government we will continue to support them.


  65. Programme Director, it was our wish for all who wrote the national senior certificate examination to pass, unfortunately 17 623 candidates did not make the grade. This reflects a 26,4% failure rate.

  66. I implore all those who have not succeeded, not to lose hope. (Akulahlwa mbeleko ngakufelwa). We will afford you a second chance.

  67. We request parents and community members to support these learners and not to subject them to undue pressure or ridicule.

  68. Let us encourage all those who could not make the grade, to take advantage of the second chance programme.

  69. We therefore make a humble appeal to all our principals to provide the required and necessary support to these learners.

  70. We will work tirelessly to further improve qualitatively.


  72. We wish to extend our heartfelt congratulations to the Grade 12 Class of 2021.

  73. Your achievements have a direct correlation with the effort you have put in. As you take steps towards adulthood, be reminded that your circumstances are a direct result of what you choose to invest your time in.

  74. Always remember that no one else, but you, is responsible for your future. Government can only create an enabling environment for you to thrive. So you have to put in the work. Feed your focus and starve your distractions.

  75. I thank you.

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