The South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) has welcomed the outcome of the matric pass rate.

The 2020 matric class has achieved a 76.2% pass rate, which is a drop of 5.1% from the previous year.  The Free State leads the pack with an 85.1% pass rate followed by Gauteng at 83.3%.

Sadtu General Secretary, Mugwena Maluleke, says the drop did not come as a surprise.

“We are aware of the decline and therefor it was not unexpected given the fact that we has uncertainty around the virus. We had a lockdown which affected a number of learners who did not have additional resources for them to be able to study from home. So clearly they were going to lag behind but we want to appreciate that finally they were able to write and we congratulate them,” he says.

‘Better than was initially expected’

South African Teachers’ Union (SAOU) says the Class of 2020 pass rate of 76.2% is better than was initially expected.

Union executive officer, Chris Klopper,  says monuments should be erected for the teachers who performed beyond the call of duty to prepare learners and provide them with the necessary confidence to enter the exam rooms, despite the pandemic.

He, however, raised concern about the decreasing numbers in learners taking accountancy and maths.

“We are concerned about the following subjects, accountancy that the number of learners are down, only 95 000 learners wrote accountancy. Maths the number of candidates are down by 15 000 learners, and physical science the number of learners are also down by about 7 000.”


Some of the top matric achievers in Mpumalanga have described the 2020 academic year as extremely difficult because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The learners came up with new strategies to study as they lost class time while the country was on lockdown.

Some learners are from rural schools in the Nkomazi and Albert Luthuli Local Municipality.

Northern Cape

The Northern Cape Education MEC, Zolile Monakali, says they had hoped to achieve a better 2020 matric pass rate than the 66% recorded.

The province’s pass rate is the lowest of all the provinces. This is a drop of 10.5% from a 76.5% pass rate of 2019.

“Of course we were hoping to do better, and serve a target above the national average. However, we remain grateful of what our educators and learners were able to achieve, under very difficult circumstances, we will continue to support our learners that fell short of getting the minimum requirements, in order for them to ultimately pass,” Monakali says.

Eastern Cape

Despite an 8.3% drop in the Eastern Cape matric results, over half of the 68.1% who passed their exams achieved bachelor passes.

The cherry on the cake was that Pearson High learner, Reynhardt Buys, walked off with the top spot in the quintal level five section of the 2020 matric exams.

“I’ve always been a hard worker, on every class I’ve always put my all to it because I knew it would improve my marks and help me achieve better in the end. So I put commitment to all my work,” Buys says.

Simamnkele Bhongo from Xolilizwe Senior Secondary School in Nqadu scooped third place in quintal two.

Bhongo says, “It’s all about perseverance, hard work and absolute dedication and determination to your school work all the time.”

In conversation with Eastern Cape top achiever:

 Western Cape

Western Cape Education MEC, Deborah Schafer, says the province dropped the least of all the province.

 Schafer reacts to the Western Cape’s 79.9% pass rate:

Learners share their excitement in the North West:

Additional reporting by Liela Magnus, Eric Lubisi, Reginald Witbooi and  Yanga Funani.