Bushbuckridge - Before revealing who she was during a surprise visit to Machaye High School in Agincourt village on Tuesday, MEC Reginah Mhaule asked matrics what they would ask the education MEC if they met her.
"We would ask the MEC to help us pass our exams because last year we failed hopelessly. The problem is that most of us are addicted to alcohol and drugs. As a result, we bunk classes," said Grade 12 pupil, Mojo Godi.
None of the school's pupils passed matric last year, prompting MEC Mhaule to visit Machaye and other underperforming schools in the Bushbuckridge area.
The schools included Nyamande High School, in MP Stream village, and Mugena High School, in Hluvukani village, which achieved a 2.9 percent and a 35 percent matric pass rate in 2008 respectively.
MEC Mhaule was shocked to discover that not only did matrics not know who the premier was, but also didn't know the names of the minister of education or the mayor of Bushbuckridge.
Machaye High economics teacher, Freddy Mkhonto, blamed a lack of economics, maths and business economics text books for the school's 100 percent failure rate last year.
"The problem with text books is big and affects our ability to work on the subjects we teach," he said.
After revealing who she was, MEC Mhaule told pupils and teachers that it was useless to have pupils in class every day who couldn't answer questions about their country and its leaders.
"I asked them basic questions which they failed to answer," said a flabbergasted MEC Mhaule.
She encouraged the pupils to "pull up their socks" and become inquisitive and eager to learn.
"With the right kind of knowledge and information you will be able to make your community better. You have the responsibility to ensure that you build a better future in this area," she said.