Despite recent protests, floods and textbook delivery problems, more than 500 000 pupils sat for their first matric exam on Monday.
The first day of the 2012 matric exams started without irregularities on Monday, said Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga.
"The recent heavy rains the Eastern Cape [experienced] were a cause for concern and we thought that they could negatively affect the transportation of school children," she said.
"I'm happy to announce that reports coming in from the Eastern Cape indicate that we only experienced challenges in the Ngqamakhwe area in Butterworth."
The start of the National Senior Certificate exams in certain schools was delayed by 20 minutes, but the candidates concerned were given time to complete their papers.
A total of 527 266 full-time and 32 789 part-time candidates sat for English home language, first additional language, and second additional language paper one.
No problems were reported in the Free State, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, and the North West.
Two schools in the Overberg area of the Western Cape were affected by the weather, and five candidates from Swartberg Secondary School started late because their school bus became stuck in mud.
A candidate at the Kairos Secondary School had to be fetched from home using a 4x4 vehicle, because of floods.
In the Northern Cape, a candidate who gave birth around 5am chose to write the exam in hospital. Arrangements were made for an invigilator to be sent there.
A call centre was available to help matric candidates with any identity document queries.
All outstanding textbooks have since been delivered to schools in the Limpopo province, the department of basic education said.
Last month protesters in the Northen Cape, citing a string of "broken promises", vowed to keep schools in the region closed for as long as necessary. – Sapa