Tshwane - President Cyril Ramaphosa has urged girls, who are sitting for the matric exams this year - to remain focused and attain their goals as he did.
Ramaphosa made the plea to 70 girls who joined him as part of the Take a Girl Child to Work campaign which was launched with success 16-years ago, in 2003.
The Grade 8 to 12 girls came from different schools in Gauteng. Minutes after his arrival at the Union Building in Pretoria on Thursday, he was immediately faced with a barrage of questions, with some wanting to know what made him to become the president of South Africa.
Others want him to divulge his plans to end poverty while others wanted him to immediately fight the scourge of drugs especially nyaope.
Another pupil, expressed her disappointment in Ramaphosa’s “failure” to appoint former Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi as Minister Basic Education.
“MEC Lesufi did a lot for our schools in Gauteng. He deserved a position in your Cabinet as Minister of Education for the country,” she said.
All these questions were answered and Ramaphosa individually responded to them.
The president successfully captured the attention of all these girls when he narrated his difficult upbringing as child writing matric in Soweto in 1971. He made a recollection of his life in his bid to encourage these girls to apply early for admission at tertiary institutions in the country.
Addressing matriculants, Ramaphosa said: “You have to be focused. I wanted to have a university degree. I wanted to be a lawyer. Those were the defining things that made me become a president,” Ramaphosa said.
He further told the girls: “While in matric in Soweto. My parents could not afford to take me to university. I took a telephone book and I identified various companies on it. I started writing letters to the asking for a bursary.
“I wrote more than 500 letters. During school holidays, I went to different companies in Joburg asking for a bursary. Some of them rejected me,” Ramaphosa said.
He, however, said rejection did not deter him saying “I finally got two bursary to study towards my law degree”.
“You can do it too,” he said.
In reply to non-appointment of Lesufi, Ramaphosa said Lesufi must be allowed to excel in his incumbent position as Gauteng Finance MEC.
He also promised the girls that he would speed up the government pace in improving infrastructure in their schools including eradicating mobile units.