Media release

Government congratulates the matric class of 2016

05 January 2017

5 January 2017

Government congratulates all the Grade 12 learners who sat for the 2016 National Senior Certificate Examinations, or Matric examinations, across South Africa.

The results released by the Minister of Basic Education, Ms Angie Motshekga, are indeed encouraging and highlight the strides we have made in providing quality education to all South Africans.  

The Matric pass rate improved from last year's 70.7 per cent to 72.5 per cent nationally. The marked increase in the overall pass rate is a reflection of the hard work of learners and educators, and the support of parents and communities.

The achievements of these young South Africans are evidence that we are a step closer to the goals of the National Development Plan, which projects that by 2030, all South Africans should have access to education and training of the highest quality, leading to significantly improved learning outcomes.

Achieving this outcome begins during learner’s formative years, and includes ensuring greater access to education. The Statistics South Africa Community Survey 2016 shows that enrolment rates for five year olds have quadrupled from 22.5 per cent in 1996 to 91 per cent in 2016.

The survey also shows that more people are engaging in further study. In 2016, 1.2 million people completed a bachelor degree, which is more than double those who completed in 1996. The efforts of lifelong learning indeed begin from cradle and progress to various higher education pathways.  The improvement in Matric results should therefore not be viewed in isolation, as it is but one facet of our overall approach to ensure quality and affordable education for all.

We should also acknowledge that the improvement in results was achieved despite serious challenges in areas such as Vuwani where learners were out of class for long periods. The intervention by government in providing mobile classrooms, and the dedication of learners, teachers, School Governing Body members, traditional leadership, and the community ensured that learning resumed, and that matric learners were able to write their exams. There are many such inspiring stories of South Africans reaching their dreams despite considerable odds that should motivate learners for the year ahead.

"We therefore welcome the improvement in results of the Class of 2016, which were achieved against the odds, and congratulate them for this achievement. I am confident that the learners from the Class of 2016 have the knowledge and skills to enter the next chapter of their lives,” said Acting GCIS Director General Donald Liphoko. 

Government stands ready to assist learners from the Class of 2016 to fulfil their dreams. Through the Central Application Clearing House (CACH) service we are assisting learners to find available places at universities and at Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Colleges. The Clearing House service accessible on matches applicants' exam results and study preferences with places that need to be filled

We are especially excited by the potential of TVET colleges as drivers of the necessary skills and education needed to grow our economy. It is hoped that they will become the institutions of choice for school leavers; government hopes to have 2.5-million youth enrolled in them by 2030.

TVET colleges are the ideal vehicle to impart skills to young people that are required to support economic growth and development. Courses at these colleges have been specifically developed to respond to the scarce skills needed by employers. For details of publicly funded universities and TVET colleges in your province visit

Our message to the Class of 2016 is to explore all available options and career choices.  It is also important that learners think of entering study fields which are in high demand by employers.

Government is mindful that some learners may not have done as well as they would have liked. During this difficult time our support as families, neighbours, government and communities is vital.”

Learners who have failed to achieve desired results should not lose heart as there are many options available. Candidates may apply for remarking or rechecking, and those who qualify for supplementary exams are encouraged to make use of the opportunity to improve their results.

“I urge parents and guardians to monitor learners and loved ones in your care.  Your support and encouragement is vital and will ensure that learners are able to rebound and emerge stronger,” said Acting Director General Liphoko.

As per tradition, the Department of Social Development has again made available to the Matric Class of 2016 a 24-hour call centre for learners to receive counselling by social workers as the results are released. 

Learners can call 0800 428 428 to speak to a social worker for assistance and counselling - toll free. They can also request a social worker from the Command Centre to contact them by dialling 120 7867# (free) from any cell phone. 

Help is also available for learners at the Basic Education toll-free number 0800 202 933. 

Government urges all media platforms  to publish contact details for depression centres and other facilities that provide opportunities for rewrites as well as vocational training for the youth. 

Government would also like to extend its congratulations to the 188 000 social grant beneficiaries who sat down for their matric examinations last year.  In October last year, a special outreach programme was established between the Department of Social Development and the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS), working together with the Department of Basic Education to make sure that social grant beneficiaries apply for financial assistance. Grant beneficiaries who are accepted at institutions of higher learning will no longer be means tested by NSFAS when they apply for financial assistance. 

Over the next few weeks many students will arrive at university and TVET campuses to either begin or resume their studies.  Government along with institutions of higher learning stands ready to welcome them as they embark on a new chapter in their lives.

We would also like to reiterate that NSFAS qualifying students, as well as “missing middle” students will experience no fee increase in 2017. Government will also continue to do all it can to provide quality and affordable education to all deserving students.

Mr Donald Liphoko
Acting Director-General (GCIS)

Issued by: Government Communication and Information System

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