Tshwane south district at top of the 2020 matric class

Tshwane south district at top of the 2020 matric class

Gauteng’s Tshwane South District managed to remain the top district nationally with an average of 89.6%

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga announced the 2020 matric results on Monday and said 76.2% of the learners who sat down for the exam passed.

The Free State is the leading province with 85.1% learners having passed. It was followed by Gauteng which posted 83.8% pass rate. Both provinces posted a decline of 3.2% and 3.5% from 2019, respectively.

Motshekga says the class of 2020 managed to produce quality passes under difficult circumstances due to COVID-19.

“The high-quality passes we have achieved this year, especially the number of Bachelor and Diploma passes, the overall pass mark, and the passes with distinctions, even in critical subjects, are the hallmarks of the performance of the Class of 2020, We are of the strong view that, had it not been for the novel COVID-19 pandemic, the Class of 2020 could have been the best performers, since the inception of the National Senior Certificate,” said Motshekga.

Education expert Professor Mary Metcalfe, who also believes that the class of 2020 did well, says learners who failed should be encouraged to try again.

“I think the results are excellent given the difficulties of the class of 2020, a drop of 5% is disappointing but the fact that we don’t seem to have major drop out of learners should be encouraging. The fact that some learners failed is a pity, those learners need to be encouraged to write again, to understand that it was a difficult year and not to judge themselves too harshly. We need to support them as family and community to try again,” says Metcalfe

Educators union of South Africa spokesperson, Kabelo Mahlobogwane, says it is encouraging to see that learners and teachers have managed to work very hard under the difficult conditions of COVID-19.

“They worked very hard to make sure that regardless of the situation they still come out as victors, this for us shows the resilience and the capacity and the capabilities that our learners working together with teachers have, and really this is very encouraging and motivating to see that we do have such committed individuals within the basic education sector willing to serve it regardless of the situation,” he says.

 Mahlobogwane believes that the results could have been better had the basic education department provided enough support.

“We strongly believe that we could have gotten better results had we received the support from the department of basic education and this is so sad in a sense that there are a number of learners who didn’t manage to make it, not because of their own individual capacities but because of the situation they find themselves in. The IEB we also congratulate them and we say to basic education, government and other stakeholders that they need to take notes, no situation can hinder the progress of a capable government and department we want to encourage the DBE to focus on preparing public education system,” he says.

The African National Congress (ANC) caucus in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature also congratulated all learners who made it through the difficult year.

“We are proud of the efforts put by all stakeholders to ensure that education becomes a societal priority. We welcome the 83.3 % pass rate making Gauteng the second-best province. Not only has the department under great leadership at all levels done well in terms of numbers but they have improved the quality of the results,” says the caucus in a statement.

Blanket knitting initiative puts young Sasolburg boy on a national stage

Blanket knitting initiative puts young Sasolburg boy on a national stage

An initiative aimed at keeping young and vulnerable children warm especially during winter season has led to a national recognition of a young South African based in the Fezile Dabi District Municipality in the Free State.

Vuyane Latha of Zamdela, Sasolburg, has been crowned as the winner in the Child Care Category of 100 Young Ambassadors, which is a platform for young South Africans to be ambassadors in their communities and make a difference in their field of work. The categories included Health, Civil Rights, Child Care, Education and Environment.

It is through hard work that Vuyane was last week received an award as a new South African Ambassador under child care category.

“It was really an amazing moment for me, I was just giving a helping hand to the vulnerable children out there and didn’t honestly expect anything like this, I am truly honored” said Vuyane.

The young lad’s initiative started with donations to various orphanages and needy children with toys, warm winter clothing and now during the COVID-19 pandemic with gloves and other essentials.

This idea and initiative led to the formation of a Non-profit Organisation called Kopano ke Matla Charity Organisation that focused mainly at knitting blankets and donating to various orphanages and vulnerable children across the province of Free State.

Vuyane said founding and starting such an organisation was something that came deep within him as an idea of helping young and vulnerable children. “I never thought of any recognition from anyone when starting the organisation, all I could think of was acting on my idea of helping needy children.”

The organisation started receiving donations of knitted squares of blankets that had to be knitted together and be combined to a full blanket.

“That’s when the organistion thought of approaching grandmothers who can give a helping hand in their spare time in achieving the organistion’s objectives.  The idea paid of as the organisation has about ten grannies who are helping voluntarily with this knit-a-blanket project and we are thankful for their contribution”.

When the competition for the top 100 Young Ambassadors who are making change in their community was announced, he was placed in the child care category.

Within his category of seven organisation/individuals, Vuyane claimed top position.

“This achievement will also help the organisation to grow and expand nationally because the aim is to help as many children as we can,” he said.

Vuyane has encouraged young people to never sit on their idea no matter how small it is. “Don’t wait even a second on that idea that you have, never sleep on it.  Act on it and do something about it,” added Vuyane.

The organisation is accepting any kind of assistance from wool, toys, to gloves and many more to reach even greater heights. Report from Puisano News

Metsimaholo stokvels, tuckshop owners launch supermarket

Metsimaholo stokvels, tuckshop owners launch supermarket

Stokvels and tuckshop owners in Metsimaholo, in the Free State, have launched their own supermarket.

Upkasi Supermarket is the first of its kind in the area.

The launch was held in Zamdela, in Sasolburg,  and the store founders say it lays a foundation that intends to develop a model of assisting Black businesses. It is also in line with the government’s township economic recovery plan.

Upkasi supermarket chain stores founder and director, Piet Mothepu, says the company is 100% Black-owned and aims to develop and restore Black local economy back to the community in a form of affordable investment opportunities as well as create sustainable jobs.

“Upkasi was started by stokvel and tuckshop owners around Metsimaholo in June this year. Effects of COVID-19 made us realise that as business owners we must join hands and work together and in that way we will have a greater voice, buying power, and using models such as crowd-funding and investment we will surely revive our township economy” says Mothepu.

The stokvel started with seven members, who worked together and bought stock in bulk. It has now grown to 25 active members, who own and have shares in the Upkasi Supermarket.

The first Upkasi supermarket is now open and in operation at Mooidraai next to the old farmhouse.

“We have a big and a bold plan, we will be opening other Upkasi supermarkets around Metsimaholo in the near future, and working with other role players such as emerging farmers, other Black-owned supermarkets and various organisations and stakeholders we will be able to grow our business to processing, packaging and distribution level,” adds Mothepu. 

“We are optimistic that we will one day have our own Upkasi, bakery, butchery, vegetable store and all this will benefit members and most importantly create employment, and members will leave a legacy behind for generations to come” he says.

Metsimaholo Executive Mayor, Lindiwe Tshongwe, and her team, including officials from the Free State Department of Agriculture Land Reform and Rural Development,  attended the launch. – Report by Puisano Ditaba new reporter Lekhotla Koena

Call for donations following Free State runaway fires

Call for donations following Free State runaway fires

The public is urged to donate to the Free State Agriculture’s (FSA) disaster fund to assist farmers who have lost livestock and had their infrastructure destroyed by wildfires.

Animal feed or cash will be accepted.

According to the Farmers’ Weekly, the fires, fanned by strong winds, have destroyed nearly 100 000ha in the western Free State since the weekend.

The fires reportedly started on Sunday when service delivery protesters burned tyres on the R708 road between Hertzogville and Christiana.

Flames from the burning tyres are thought to have spread to the surrounding veld, from where they fanned out to Hertzogville, Boshof, Bultfontein and Hoopstad, according to Gys Olivier, chairperson of the Hertzogville District Farmers’ Union – who spoke to the Farmers’ Weekly.

He described the burnt areas as something akin to a lunar landscape, “eerily quiet and devoid of life”.

However, Olivier said the affected farmers were heartened by all the support that had poured in.

“I have to commend the Working on Fire teams for doing their utmost to contain the inferno. The assistance we received from all sides gave us the courage and resolve to stay positive. The affected districts functioned in a unified manner, forging ahead to fight the inferno. It goes without saying that we are hurt and shocked to the core, but we are not without hope,” he said.

While the cost of the damage caused by the inferno is not yet known, one Hertzogville farmer is said to have lost R900 000 worth of livestock, and the damage to the infrastructure on his farm is R3 million.

The Free State Agriculture has reportedly made R100 000 available from its disaster fund for the transportation of animal feed to the affected areas.

Those who want to donate are urged to call Elaine Olivier on 082 787 9660 or deposit money to the disaster fund at Absa’s account 470 940 670. The reference for the donation is Ramp.

The Portfolio Committee on Agriculture has called on Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Minister, Thoko Didiza, to declare affected places as disaster areas.

“We commend the farmers and farming communities for saving lives and ensuring that there are no casualties, and for acting swiftly to prevent further devastation and decimation of property,” says the committee in a statement.

Chairperson Nkosi Zwelivelile Mandela added: “We trust that the investigation will rule out the possibility of arson as it is inconceivable why anyone would want to cause such widespread destruction.”