cyril ramaphosa #RamaphosaMustGo

President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Photo: GCIS / Flickr

‘They have done their country proud’: Matriculants lauded by Ramaphosa

President Cyril Ramaphosa has paid tribute to the matriculants who sat for the National Senior Certificate (NSC).

cyril ramaphosa #RamaphosaMustGo

President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Photo: GCIS / Flickr

President Cyril Ramaphosa said matriculants from the class of 2020 have been resilient in the face of great difficulties brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.   

In a statement, released on Tuesday 23 February 2021, Ramaphosa said SA’s learners have “done themselves, their families and their country proud”.

This comes after the Department of Basic Education (DBE) released the matric results on Monday 22 February 2021. Minister Angie Motshekga said that in 2009, the National Senior Certificate pass rate was 60% and 109 000 learners qualified for Bachelor admissions. In 2020, 76.2% of learners who wrote the National Senior Certificate examination passed and 210 820 of them achieved admission to Bachelor Studies. 

“Over the last 10 years, the pass rate has remained consistently over 70% since reaching this benchmark in 2011,” she said. 

The overall pass rate for the 2020 cohort represents a decrease of 5.1% from 81.3% in 2019. 

“Although there is [a] decrease in the pass percentage, there has been a notable increase in the number of learners that attained the National Senior Certificate,” she added. 


Ramaphosa said last year’s matriculants had to prepare for the crucial exam under challenging and highly pressured conditions, necessitating an adjustment to the lockdown restrictions as well as extra work and effort.

Ramaphosa went on to thank the country’s educators, teacher’s unions, school staff and parents for their support to the matriculants throughout the school year.

“This support our young people received made all the difference, making it possible for the crucial final year of schooling to be salvaged,” he said. 

“The President applauds the 75.8% pass rate among female matriculants, as this lays an important foundation for the empowerment of young women in the country,” the presidency said. 

Ramaphosa added that the matriculants who sat the exam in 2020 were inheritors of the mantle of the brave generation of 1976.


In tribute to the Class of 2020, Ramaphosa recalled Tebogo ‘Tsietsi’ Mashinini who at a meeting in Soweto just days before the fateful protest in 1976, delivered a speech to reassure the anxious students.

“Against the greatest of odds our matriculants persevered to write their exams last year; as Tsietsi said that day, let us indeed honour the charge they made,” Ramaphosa said.

The President calls on matriculants who did not pass the exam to take advantage of supplementary exams, the DBE’s Second Chance programme and other support mechanisms.