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Panyaza Lesufi uses Gauteng matric results to take swipe at Mmusi Maimane

Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi (right) at the 2021 matric results presentation.
Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi (right) at the 2021 matric results presentation.
Image: Gauteng education department via Twitter

Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi on Friday used the achievements of the province's matric pupils as an opportunity to criticise One SA Movement leader Mmusi Maimane. 

Taking to the podium at the Birchwood Hotel in Ekurhuleni at an event aimed at honouring the top achievers in the province, Lesufi made reference to Maimane, albeit without mentioning him by name. 

He dragged Maimane for dragging the education department to court, wanting the courts to shut down schools as he believed it was a danger for children to be in schools amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Lesufi said had Maimane had his way, children would have been at home, twiddling their thumbs. 

“Because he was defeated, he is now finding a new tune to sing, saying they have not passed because their pass mark was 30%,” said Lesufi, adding that the department had tried to rectify this. 

“I want to say to him that these children that are here, none of them have passed with 30% and all have obtained above 50%. 

“I just want to say to him, be careful next time when you are bored ... As the people's poet once said, an idle mind is the devil's workshop.”

Lesufi said the department was proud that it had “defended” pupils' careers. 

While Gauteng obtained a 82.8% pass rate in these exams, this was a drop from the 83.8% obtained last year.

Gauteng had 127,523 matriculants who wrote the exams, of which 105,526 passed.

The province's head of department, Edward Mosuwe, said this achievement did not come without hurdles. 

Mosuwe said service delivery protests that kept some pupils from Gauteng's eastern regions out of school for at least four weeks in the last school term had contributed to a drop in the 2021 matric performance.

In a technical report delivered by the province in Boksburg on Friday, the department said threats of a fourth Covid-19 wave, load-shedding and leakage of question papers were other hurdles pupils had to deal with.

Lesufi said Gauteng east, which was the worst performing district, did so because of the people of that area. 

“To the people of Gauteng east, when you disrupt schools, this is what you get. This community was disrupted in July. I am not saying don’t fight for your rights but leave our schools and don’t interfere with our schools,” he said. 

The department said it did all it could to address these concerns, including holding formal engagements with Eskom to ensure there was no load-shedding on the days the exams were written on computer and a second session date being set aside to accommodate affected pupils.

Lesufi mentioned four schools — Parktown Girls' High, Afrikaans Hoer Meisieskool, Waterkloof and Menlo Park Hoërskool — that obtained 95% bachelor passes. 

The Tshwane south district again proved to be the best performing district, obtaining an 89.9% total pass rate.

The department said no public school which obtained a pass rate of below 20%. Only three independent schools obtained less than 20%, while 128 schools recorded a 100% pass rate, with a majority receiving well over 60%.

In a breakdown of the candidates, the province said more females (73,259) wrote the exams in comparison to males (59 610). At 114,254, black pupils formed the biggest cohort of matric writers.

TimesLIVE


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