WARM greetings to you, the residents of Matatiele.Our back to school programme has started to pay offAccording to the Census 2011, 71% of the population within our municipality is younger than 35. This means we are municipality that is generally young, and as such, youth empowerment through education and other means has to feature prominently on our agenda. Over the past years, we have made a deliberate investment in education as the municipality. Our joint efforts are staring to pay off at all levels of schooling. We are encouraged by the latest statistics that show a dramatic declined of non-pupils, from 23.2% in 2001 to 2.4%. A total of 52.9% of the population has some primary school education while 7.6% have completed primary school. We are still just around five percent with regards to those who have completed senior secondary schooling, while only 0.4% of the population has attained some form of higher education. This is attributed to poor financial backgrounds, in that most pupils after matric do not have the financial means to further their studies. This is a gap we have since tried to fill with all our might. Through our pupil support programme, we have for the past two years enrolled close to 50 students in university. This number will increase by 35 this year. Already there are about six students in our bursary programme, pursuing scarce skills studies. One of them, Mavuso Shabalala, has already qualified as an electrical engineer. At a recent stakeholder engagement Momelezi Mbedla shared his dream of Maluti district achieving the best matric results in 2017, and in the future. He has pledged the municipality’s readiness to provide support needed to improve the quality of education in our schools. “As the municipality we want to be ahead of the rest of the country with the best matric results ever. Despite being a deep rural district we want to prove that quality results have nothing to do with modern lives. It only requires dedication and commitment,” he said.It looks like we are on track because the Maluti district came second in Cluster A. The graphs show an upward trend. In 2015 the district’s pass rate was 55.90% and in 2016, it was 62%. St Monica’s and King Edward High attained a 100% pass rate. Nyaniso, Mvenyane and Mosa Sibi High Schools represented the cream of the crop from the previously disadvantaged institutions. A total of 468 achieved Bachelor passes, 547 diplomas and 306 higher certificates in the district. Today as we celebrate with the top achievers, we take our hats off to:• Raeeng Moso from Tholang Senior Secondary School - top achiever in historically disadvantaged institutions (HDI) in the district.• Gugushe Khanya Thato from Tholang Senior Secondary School - top performing pupil in the district.• Marwanqana Anelisa - a quintile 1 category top pupil, provincial top three HDI and provincial top pupil in Xhosa home language. Not even the sky will be your limit.Wishing you a productive 2017 - stay safe sweet people of wweet Matat. We are a destination of choice and excellence.