Top 5 Things: 5 January

You give us 5 minutes and we’ll brief you on the five stories making headlines this week.

Matric Pass Rate Announced

The matric results announcement has come and gone and stories of how matriculants fought against all odds abound. One of the arresting stories is that of a young KwaZulu-Natal boy who has passed his matric while behind bars. Nhlakanipho Mpofana was convicted of attempted murder at the age of 17 in 2016. He has now emerged as the top achieving pupil in a KwaZulu-Natal correctional facility, racking up three distinctions out of his eight subjects.

He received his award at the International Convention Centre (ICC) from MEC Mthandeni Dlungwana.

Mpofana says, “I went into prison a very angry person. I did not want to do anything, and I was lost,”.

Mpofana, now 21, said that his life was one that gave way to pressures from all around him.

“There was a lot of pressure on me from my friends. I was mixed up in the wrong crowd and the way I used to think was not good.”

He said that after he was convicted, he felt his life was over.

“It was just too much. I just knew that I was at my lowest. I did not have hope and I felt like nothing could be done for me.”

But then, one day, he heard about the matric programme in Westville Prison.

“I saw that many pupils were becoming better people after deciding to do their studies. They had a lot of purpose and I could see hope. I thought, maybe this could change my life. Suddenly, there was new life in me.”

Mpofana made enquiries and, before he knew it, he was a pupil.

“It was not always easy. We would leave the facility in the morning around 08:00 and would return by 15:00. I would then have to cope with our schedule in jail before tending to my work.”

He said his study regime entailed being consistent and not being afraid to ask for help.

“I even went for additional classes from 16:00 to 17:00. I would also speak to other inmates and ask them for help in areas I was not sure of.”

Mpofana said that he was now eyeing the teaching profession.

“I want to get to teaching as soon as possible. I want to spread knowledge. Academics has done so much for me. I want to be able to do that for others. I just want to keep studying now.”

With just three months of his sentence left, his new path is just around the corner.

“I just know I need to be patient now. It has been a long road, but it is very rewarding.”

Mpofana urged the class of 2019 to never give up hope with anything in life.

“I want them to know that they can do anything. You just have to put your mind to it. I was at my lowest, but now I am something and I will keep striving. They must never stop. Do things for yourself and never fall prey to peer pressure.”

Meanwhile the DA says the real pass rate was 37.6 percent.

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga announced a 78.2 percent national pass rate for the 2018 matric class.

But the DA said the pass mark was much lower if all students who were in Grade 10 in 2016 were incorporated.

“These Grade 10s should be celebrating with other matriculants, but more than half didn’t write matric in the expected timeframe,” the party’s shadow minister of basic education Nomsa Marchesi said.

“This means only 37.6 percent of these Grade 10s passed matric. The others have either become stuck in a struggling education system repeating grades, or worse, dropped out of the system completely.”

Body Of An Unknown Woman Discovered In Durban

An unknown woman’s body has been discovered at Port Dunford area, near Durban. Police have appealed to the members of the community to help identify the woman.

According to KZN police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbele the Richards Bay Search and Rescue Team members were on duty at Port Dunford area searching for unknown drownings which may have occurred during the festive season when they found a woman’s body.

“The police found the body of an unknown woman on the side of the riverbank believed to be in her twenties. She was wearing a light pink costume, earrings and a necklace. She is fair in complexion and about 1.6 metre in height.

“The identity of the victim is still unknown as well as her next of kin.”

Police urged anyone with information to contact Constable Khayelihle Mbatha on 082 557 0045/035 796 8027 or Crime Stop on  08600 10111.

North West List Still Outstanding While ANC Holds List Conference

The ANC is compiling names in a list of people who will go to Parliament, the nine legislatures and the National Council of Provinces while the North West provincial list conference is outstanding.

The ruling party says the impeding list from the North West will not affect the outcomes of the national list conference which got underway yesterday afternoon.

Senior leaders of the governing party are currently in Umhlanga where members’ names are under discussion.

The ANC’s branches selected names to fill these positions during various provincial list conferences

The top 25% on the final national list are guaranteed a position in the National Assembly.

The North West was unable to host its provincial list conference after violence broke out during its first run list conference in December last year.

ANC members there accused the current provincial task team of manipulating the list along factional lines.

ANC deputy secretary-general  Jessie Duarte says the provincial list conference in the North West today is only about consolidating who will represent the party in that province’s legislature.

People Protest Outside Bushiri’s Church

Police had to be deployed when a group of people protested outside controversial pastor Shepherd Bushiri’s Enlightened Christian Gathering Church in Pretoria.

This comes after the church was charged by police for defeating the ends of justice and interfering with police work after they removed the bodies of three women from the Pretoria church. The women died in a stampede last Friday. They were then taken to a private mortuary without the incident being reported to the police.

The group has allegedly blocked congregants from entering the church, demanding that Bushiri address them.

Young Boy Drowns At A South Coast Beach in KZN

Police have opened an inquest docket after the body of a young boy was pulled from a beach on the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast on Friday morning.

Police said the Search and Rescue Unit and Metro Police Search and Rescue members were called out to recover the body of the 14-year-old boy from the shoreline at Pipeline Beach in Amanzimtoti.

Despite several warnings from authorities throughout the festive season, there have been a number of drownings in KwaZulu-Natal over the festive season.

In a separate incident, an elderly woman was injured after she slipped and fell down a few flights of steps at a beach in Ballito on the KZN North Coast.

National Sea Rescue Institute spokesperson, Craig Lambinon, said the woman, 72, sustained lacerations to her head and fractures to her left wrist.

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What do you think?

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