Picture: Noni Mokati/IOL

Johannesburg - Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga has mocked the argument by the Congress of South African Students’ (Cosas) that publishing matric results in newspapers drives up suicide among matrics. 

A jovial Motshekga addressed top performing matriculants in Sandton on Thursday morning. She showered the cohort from public schools with heaps of praise, calling them the creme de la creme of the country. 

Comparing them to Nelson Mandela, she said they were best of the best - a group that would take the country forward. “You’re unlike these Cosas kids who say to me I must not publish results because people commit suicide when they don’t pass or they don’t see their names (in newspapers),” she said. 

Motshekga argued pupils whose names fail to make it to newspapers should know beforehand that they performed badly. “They were supposed to have committed suicide in September when we gave them (results of the) interim (examinations). There’s no way you can pass with As in September and then in December you don’t pass. It’s not possible. 

“So, if you don’t appear in the paper you should have seen it coming - that this is coming. It can’t just happen overnight.” 

Turning her attention back to the top performers, she said: “And you also can’t be here by accident. 

“You’ve seen it coming, that’s why you were able to give interviews to say I worked hard, I want to be an actuarial scientist. “These are clever ones.” 

Motshekga said whenever she asked the crop of matriculants how they pulled it, “the answer is always the same: we worked very hard. 

“They don’t say we prayed or we went to traditional healers to see how things are going. They always give me the same answer. “Here it’s not zama zama, there’s no lotto here.” 

The Star reported this week that Cosas reiterated its old protestation against publishing of matric results in newspapers. It threatened to burn down offices of newspapers going against its call. 

In a strongly worded statement, Cosas in Gauteng lamented publishing of results as a “suicidal act”. Some pupils have committed suicide in previous years after not seeing their names in papers. 

Said Cosas Gauteng in its statement: “Since the dawn of this suicidal act (public release of results), the future of this country was under threat. 

“Students continually lose confidence in themselves, particularly if they did not appear in these papers. Most of the times there are errors done by these papers that can cost someone’s life.”

Deputy Minister Enver Surty meanwhile told the pupils that they represented a future filled with infinite possibilities.

"South Africa requires your energy in order to realise radical economic transformation. Many of you will be involved in innovation, technology that is required for the 4th Industrial Revolution," he said.

One of the pupils present Reamohetsi Mofitiso from Lehana Senior Secondary School in Mount Fletcher said he was happy.

Speaking hours before obtaining his results, a shy Mofitiso said he wasn't sure what to expect.

"I would like to receive 90 percent in Life Sciences, Maths, Physics and Geography," he said.

Regarding the exam he wrote Mafitiso he said Maths and Physics were a bit tricky but he was hopeful nonetheless.

His grandmother Christina Mofitiso said: "We were very happy. His mother could not speak she cried all the time. We were informed about the invitation on January 1. We were informed by his principal that we had to fly to Joburg for the breakfast. I couldn't be happier and proud," she said.

Motshekga will officially announce the pass rate and how various provinces performed later on Thursday evening.

Political Bureau and The Star