President Cyril Ramaphosa took time off from his busy political schedule and visited school learners at Siqongweni Secondary School in Pietermaritzburg on Thursday.
Ramaphosa committed to building a library, computer laboratory and a mobile science laboratory for learners at the township school.
Siqongweni is one of the highest performing schools in the country with an 84% matric pass rate.
The learners were in a jovial mood as Ramaphosa descended on the mountainous Imbali township.
But the teachers kept them calm until the right moment.
When a beaming Ramaphosa walked in, the teachers and the 1006 learners – ranging from grade 8 to grade 12 – ululated.
“You are going to get a science laboratory and computer science because you did very well this year,” Ramaphosa said.
“You are among the top performing schools. In the past five years, the school has been getting above 84%. We want nothing less than 100% this year.” Ramaphosa was accompanied by KwaZulu-Natal premier Sihle Zikalala and Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga,
He also used his visit to the school to announce that a presidential reading club would be launched in a bid to encourage South Africans to read.
However, he was left stunned when only five learners raised their hands and said they wanted to become president.
“One day one of you will become president. Who want to become a president? Only five of you want to become president?” Ramaphosa said.
Some learners said they wanted to become doctors and engineers.
When Ramaphosa asked who wanted to become a bank robber, no one responded.
He laughed. “That is fantastic. No one wants to become a bank robber.”
The president encouraged learners to read 12 books a year.
“Read as much as possible beyond the books you are given in schools. I am encouraging you to read extensively as possible,” Ramaphosa said.
After the school visit, he went to open an athletics facility next to Harry Gwala Stadium, met minority community at Manor flats and city hall and then finished his campaign at Ka-Danbuza hall.