Media Statement

20 January 2024


The Minister of Social Development, Ms Lindiwe Zulu, wishes to congratulates all the Grade 12 learners receiving social development services who passed the 2023 National Senior Certificate (NSC).


Of the 897 775 Grade 12 learners who wrote their NSC, 543 786 full-time learners were social grant beneficiaries, with 62 out of 110 social grants beneficiaries amongst the top performing learners in different categories as awarded by the Department of Basic Education (DBE).


Social Grant Beneficiaries formed the largest number of learners who wrote their 2023 National Senior Certificate and 441 871 learners passed the NSC examinations which is an overall pass rate of 82, 9%.


The social grant beneficiaries not only passed their NSC, 202 156 received a Bachelor pass which gains them access to institutions of higher learning, with 160 326 distinctions.  The Child Support grant formed the biggest grant type received by these learners, with the majority of them from KwaZulu-Natal, the second-best performing province after Free State.


The South African Constitution, through the Child Justice Act, also obligates the state to provide care and support services to children in conflict with the law, including educational opportunities.


According to the data from the Departments of Basic Education and  Social Development, 1 630 children in conflict with the law  registered for the 2023 NSC.


“Providing educational opportunities for children in conflict with the law is a key element of rehabilitating and re-integrating them back into society. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (the CRC), which South Africa ratified in 1995, recognises the importance of education for children in conflict with the law”, said Minister Zulu.


The Social Development sector has been integrating the social protection administrative data system to ensure better coordination of services and tracking of health and educational outcomes for beneficiaries of various government services aimed at tackling child and adult poverty. The linking and sharing of administrative data systems within the social cluster departments—Social Development, SASSA, Department of Basic Education, and NSFAS - ensure information is shared on the academic performance of social grant beneficiaries. 


One such success story of the benefits of linking and sharing of data systems was the agreement between Social Development and NSFA on the exemption of social grants beneficiaries from the means test, a decision that has significantly bridged the higher education gap as it opened the doors of learning for many, regardless of their socioeconomic background.


Education has the power to break the cycle of poverty and transform lives. By accessing education opportunities at institutions of higher learning, many social grants beneficiaries have succeeded in creating a better future for themselves and their families, thus breaking the intergenerational cycle of poverty and inequality.


“The benefits of social grants extend beyond individual beneficiaries to broader society. Our government’s pro-poor policies such as our social assistance programme, no-fee schools, school nutrition, school uniforms, free health care including sanitary dignity packs have made significant over the past 30 years in reducing poverty by bridging the education gap for learners from impoverished backgrounds. We will continue to build on the success of these impactful interventions that have lifted many of our people out of poverty," added Minister Zulu.




Media enquiries may be forwarded to Ms Lumka Oliphant on 083 484 8067 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.