Citizen Reporter
2 minute read
16 Jan 2022
10:12 pm

Matric results: Education department says it will abide by court decision

Citizen Reporter

Afriforum has taken the Department of Basic Education to court over its decision to stop publishing matric results in the media.

DF Malan High School prepares for Matric learners and other candidates for the Senior Certificate final examination on 4 November 2020 in Bellville. Picture: Gallo Images/Jaco Marais

The Department of Basic Education (DBE) says it will abide by the Pretoria High Court’s decision regarding the legal battle to stop the practice of publishing matric results on media platforms.

Earlier this week, the department announced that matric results will no longer be published on public platforms, saying the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA) was behind its decision.

POPIA provides clear rules for the safeguarding of personal information.

ALSO READ: Maimane’s claims ‘misleading’ – No one can pass matric with 30% says DBE

DBE director-general Mathanzima Mweli explained that to publish the results on public platforms, the Act required consent from each candidate who sat for last year’s National Senior Certificate (NSC) examinations, which would have proved difficult.

Find your 2021 matric results here.

More than 730,000 full-time pupils registered to write the 2021 NSC exams, which is the largest number of candidates recorded in years.

Court action

While the Information Regulator of South Africa (IR) has supported the department’s decision, AfriForum and other parties – including one matric pupil – has opposed the move.

According to Natasha Venter, Manager for Education Rights at AfriForum, the public excitement that accompanies the publication of matric results in the media serves as motivation for future matriculants.

Afriforum said it was of the view that information must – within the ambit of the law – be freely available “in a democratic country”, which is a principle that the department should support.

The urgent application is scheduled to be heard on Tuesday, 18 January by the Pretoria High Court.

READ MORE: Overwhelming support for DBE’s decision over matric result privacy

Meanwhile, the department says it will not oppose the pending litigation.

“The department has received representations from a vast array of organisations and individuals following the decision to stop the practice of publishing NSC results on media platforms.

“In view of the latest developments with regards to the release of the 2021 matric results and the impending litigation, the department has decided that it will abide by the decision of the court,” it said in a statement on Sunday.

The department clarified that it was guided by the need to comply with all the legal obligations, but in the final analysis, the constitution commanded it to act in the best interest of pupils.

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga said last year the matric exam results would be announced on 20 January 2022, while provinces will then release the results the next day on 21 January.

Additional reporting by Narissa Subramoney and Sipho Mabena