Matimba Calvin Ngobeni from the deep rural Potulula area, in the Vhembe District of Limpopo, has beaten the odds exacerbated by novel COVID-19 pandemic and managed to obtain a Bachelor’s Pass.
The 20-year-old Mulima Secondary School learner, which is situated Sio Likhade Village, says doing matric amid COVID-19 was difficult and studying at home because of lockdown exacerbated the situation.
“I am overwhelmed, I don’t even know what to say. The secret to success is hard work,” Ngobeni said.
Ngobeni plans to study law this year.
He calls on the current matriculants to maintain the trend, endure hardship, work hard and study at all times. “I wish them the best,” he adds.
Limpopo province has clinched the 7th spot in this year’s matric results, with an overall pass rate of 68.2%. This was a decline of 5%.
Top 3 performing districts in the province are Waterberg with 77.5% pass followed by Vhembe East with 77.1% and Vhembe West with 72.7%
The MEC for Education in the province, Polly Boshielo, has congratulated the performance by the matric class of 2020, given the difficult conditions that were imposed by the coronavirus.
Boshielo says the department will also focus on improving support for Grade R to 10 to ensure that the learners are able to obtain foundational competencies such as reading, writing and enumerating.
Encouraging the Matric Class of 2020, Limpopo Premier Stan Chupu Mathabatha says the province has always been focused on producing quality passes and that has been obtained by the 2020 class.
“While the overall performance has declined, I am very happy to say that the percentage of our bachelor passes has increased. We have moved from 26.8% bachelor pass in 2019 to 29.1% in 2020” Mathabatha says.
Announcing the overall 2020 matric pass rate on Monday, the Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga said, for the past 10 years the National Senior Certificate (NSC) pass rate have consistently been improving from 60% in 2009 to above 70% in recent years.
She says the class of 2020 must be commended for maintaining the trend, with an overall pass rate of 76. 2 %.
Though this is a decline of 5% from the pass record of 81.3% achieved by the class of 2019, Motshekga says quality passes were achieved by the 2020 class.
“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 hallmark of the performance of the class of 2020” Motshekga says.
The Minister added that had it not been for the COVID-19 the class of 2020 could have been the best performers since the inception of the National Senior Certificate.
Heavy rains continue to lash the Vhembe District in Limpopo due to tropical Cyclone Eloise, which has been downgraded to an overland depression.
The district spokesperson, Rudzani Ralushai, says although the cyclone was not as severe as it was anticipated, road infrastructures, bridges and houses in area, particularly in Tshakhuma Village, were damaged by heavy rains and floods, leading to the evacuation of some community members.
Ralushai says the electrical infrastructures were also damaged.
“We are happy with the response of the district disaster management team and the support coming from the department of social development in terms of food parcels in areas where community members are affected,” he says.
Ralushai has reiterated a call for residents to remain vigilant and avoid playing or crossing flooded rivers.
The cyclone has caused no major damages in the Mopani District.
Spokesperson Odas Ngobeni says some municipalities are currently experiencing light rain and some roads are flooded and damaged.
The Limpopo Department of Social Development is distributing relief to households that have been affected by the localised floods in the Vhembe and Mopani districts.
The spokesperson for the department, Witness Tiva, says: “Thus far, an assessment conducted by social workers and community development practitioners and other government officials identified 80 families with the majority in the Vhembe District. The affected are in the Thulamela, Collins Chabane, Musina, Makhado, and Greater Letaba local municipalities.”
The department is assisting families with parcels, dignitary packs, blankets and other basic amenities. There were no fatalities or injuries reported in both districts.
Limpopo, KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga residents are bracing themselves for Tropical Storm Eloise, which is expected to hit the local shores on Sunday.
Heavy rains and floods are expected to lash the Mopani and Vhembe districts, among other parts of the country.
The two municipalities say they are prepared for any disaster that may occur and are working closely with the national disaster management team.
Mopani District Spokesperson, Odas Ngobeni, says they have roped in the health, and environmental health practitioners to make sure that the municipality observes lockdown regulations such as social distancing, in cases where individuals may be required to be evacuated to community halls.
The Vhembe District Municipality Spokesperson, Matodzi Ralushai, is urging community members to remain vigilant at all times.
In KwaZulu-Natal, meteorologist Mkhushulwa Msimango says the cyclone could wreak havoc in parts of the province.
Msimango is also warning people to be extra careful on Sunday and Monday.
Meanwhile, power utility, Eskom, says it has made contingency plans to mitigate any risks and the possible impact on infrastructure and the provision of electricity.
Mpumalanga, where most of the power utility’s power stations are situated, is one of the areas expected to be hard hit by the storm. Eskom Spokesperson, Sikonathi Mantshantsha, says the power stations will implement wet coal contingency plans should the need arise.
“Typically, heavy rainfall for four or less days does not pose a significant threat to power station operations, but continuous heavy rainfall for more than four days does hamper coal handling at the power stations and the mines supplying them. There are some power stations in the Mpumalanga area that have been experiencing ash dam constraints. Continuous heavy rainfall over these power stations could hamper operations and recovery efforts already under way,” says Mantshantsha.
Disaster management authorities in Mpumalanga are also on high alert.
The cyclone is currently lashing parts of Mozambique. – Additional reporting by Maputuland FM News Editor, Philani Zulu.