Gauteng premier David Makhura Picture: Itumeleng English/African News Agency (ANA)

Pretoria - Gauteng Premier David Makhura on Thursday congratulated the province's department of education for being the top performing province in the matric 2018 academic year.

Makhura said the results were a reflection of how much the province has invested energy in turning around the performance in township schools.

"The number of distinctions in our township schools are significant, many of our township schools are beginning to perform at a rate way above 80 percent," he said.

Makhura said these results showed a systematic investment in infrastructure and the quality of teachers they have invested in.

Basic Education Minister, Angie Motshekga made the announcement of the 2018 National Senior Certificate results on Thursday evening in Midrand, Johannesburg.

Gauteng achieved a 87.9 percent pass rate, with the Free State a close second at with 87.5 percent, followed by the Western Cape and North West fourth.

Gauteng has eight districts that are in the top 10 most performing. The other two districts are from the Free State.

Motshekga said it was "unprecedented" and "remarkable" that all top 10 districts came from just two provinces.

A reported 796,542 pupils wrote the examinations last year,  making it 7,253 more than the number who wrote in 2017.

The national matric pass rate is 78.2 percent with progressed learners included, an improvement of 3.1 percent , compared to the 75.1 percent of the previous year.

African News Agency/ANA