The top KwaZulu-Natal matriculants were awarded by the Department of Education at a lengthy ceremony that started at 9am today (Friday, 5 January) at the Durban ICC.

Joanna Smith from Danville Park Girls was announced as the top achiever in the public school category.

Danville Park Girls, Joanna Smith, top achiever in the public school category

Those learners who passed their National Senior certificate exams as well as Adult Education and Training graduates were recognized.

The education department’s MEC Mthandeni Dlungwana was in attendance together with learners, parents and other guests.

The African National Congress issued a statement congratulating the Class of 2017 for the improvement in the National Senior Certificate results that were announced last night by the Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga.

The ruling party’s national spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said in the statement: “This achievement is the outcome of years of toil, dedication and determination by the learners, educators, parents and other education stakeholders over a concerted period of time; all of whom should be justifiably proud of the fruits of their effort.

“The ANC specifically commends the Free State province for once again being named as the best performing province with an almost 90 percent pass rate; albeit a decline from last year’s performance.  The Free State’s consistent excellence is and must remain an inspiration for all. We are particularly heartened by the reported increase in the results of the Eastern Cape, Limpopo and KwaZulu-Natal. While much more still remains to be done, their performance this year is indicative of the ability and will to do much better.

“We salute the Ministry of Basic Education, the educators and all societal partners for indeed making education a societal issue. We commend to them those students who may not have fared well this year and urge them to take up the opportunities at a second chance offered by government. The remarkable achievements of the most vulnerable children in our society in these exams demonstrates the strides we are making as a nation to improve access, redress, equity, efficiency, and the quality of teaching and learning,” said Kodwa.