Tshwane mayor Solly Msimanga posing with Gauteng best achieving matriculants of 2017 and their parents. PHOTO: Brenda Masilela/ANA

Pretoria - Thirty of the top achieving matric students for 2017 in Gauteng were on Wednesday, awarded R5000 each by the Mayor of the City of Tshwane Solly Msimanga.

The money is intended to assist the students in their studies at universities. 

"As the administration of the City of Tshwane we rightfully take great interest in the performance of our learners in general and in particular the Grade 12 learners and it is this very interest that should remind us that education is everybody’s business and indeed a societal matter," said Msimanga.

The class of 2017 is the fourth Grade 12 cohort to write the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statements (CAPS) aligned National Senior Certificate.

The learners achieved a national pass rate of 75.1%, a 2.6% improvement from the 72.5% achieved in 2016. This, represents a total of 401,435 candidates, who had passed the 2017 NSC examinations. 

The province achieved a pass rate of 85.1%‚ the same pass rate as in 2016, placing the province in second place.

Mayor Solly Msimanga with the twins, Koketso and Bonolo Rakgalakana from Mamelodi Secondary School. They both got seven distinctions. PHOTO: Brenda Masilela/ANA

The city also made its mark on the top 10 performing districts in the country with progressed learners included placing Tshwane South and Tshwane North districts on third and fifth positions respectively. 

"It is on this note that I salute Jacqueline Janse van Rensburg, from Hoërskool Oos-Moot in Pretoria, for scooping the top-performing matriculant in Gauteng," he said. 

Jacqueline Janse van Rensburg, from Hoërskool Oos-Moot in Pretoria, scooped the top-performing matriculant in Gauteng. She received nine distinctions. PHOTO: Brenda Masilela/ANA

Van Rensburg received nine distinctions, including the third best mark in Advanced Programme Mathematics in the country.

The 18-year-old said she plans to study medicine at the University of Pretoria. 

"I've done first aid, so I have a little knowledge about how the body works and how you can help someone and that intrigues me," she said. 

Eighteen-year-old twins, Koketso and Bonolo Rakgalakana from Mamelodi Secondary School, were also part of the top achievers. 

The twins obtained seven distinctions and they both plan to study at the University of Cape Town. 

"We help each other and study together. We  have been always top achievers from an early age," Bonolo said. 

Koketso plans to study chemical engineering while Bonolo wants to study mechanical engineering. 

During his closing remarks, Msimanga encouraged students who didn't pass to consider other options to get their certificates. 

" I also plead with families, neighbours and communities to support all the Grade 12 pupils who did not pass their examinations," he said. 

African News Agency/ANA