WARM greetings to you all. The Matatiele Class of 2016 has demonstrated why we are a destination of choice and excellence. Maluti District came second in the cluster with a 62% pass rate. This is another sign of a winning municipality indeed. Matatiele Local Municipality and the Department of Education in Maluti held a matric awards ceremony on 20 January at the Maluti Civic Centre. The event was held to honour and congratulate those who did well in 2016. Awardees included teachers who taught top pupils. The Eastern Cape did not achieve good results, however, we are proud of our Class of 2016. They achieved second position in the cluster and came 12th in the province. As part of our youth development strategy, the municipality has come up with an initiative targeting in-school youth and pupils from disadvantaged families. The municipality through the Special Programmes Unit has from 9 January assisted 35 pupils giving them access institutions of higher learning. Pupils who could not access the internet were helped to register online and apply for NSFAS. In responding to the president’s call of making education a societal matter, the municipality is currently funding five students in BSc. Agricultural Science, electrical engineering and three for BCom Accounting. The bursary covers tuition fees, accommodation, meals and study material. The municipality is proud to announce that one of its bursary beneficiaries has completed his BSc degree in electrical engineering. He was among the mayor’s special guests at the matric award ceremony on Friday. Speaking at the ceremony, mayor of Matatiele LM Cllr Momelezi Mbedla said: “The municipality continues to support pupils from previously disadvantaged backgrounds. “This we do, fully aware of the burden brought to our shoulders by social challenges. Broken families, substance abuse, HIV/Aids and teenage pregnancy, among others, continue to destroy our gains in education.” In an interview on Alfred Nzo Community Radio, Maluti District Director, Lungelo Mthatyana commended Matatiele stakeholders for their support to the education sector. “We take our hat off to our teachers, who ensure we continue to improve as the district,” he said. The three best performing schools are King Edward High, St Monica’s, Focused High School and Mariazell Senior Secondary.