Court rules South Africa’s matric marks should be published publicly.

Decision on publishing the grade 12 results privately gets retrogressed
Mariselle Stofberg
Staff Reporter

South Africa’s Department of Basic Education has announced that matric exam results will no longer be published on media platforms, in line with the recently introduced Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA). The Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA) became effective on July 1, 2021 the act is a new all-inclusive piece of legislation that safeguards the integrity and sensitivity of private information.

In a statement, the department said that publishing personal information online would be a contravention of the Act. It confirmed that matric results are still scheduled to release on 21 January 2022 and that results would still be available from schools.

“In order to comply with the provisions of the POPIA, the usual practice of publishing the National Senior Certificate (NSC) results on public platforms (media platforms) will not occur for 2021,” said the statement.

Department spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga told News24 that civil society group AfriForum, Maroela Media and Anlé Spies (a 2021 matriculant) who argued that matric students who do not live close to their respective schools would be prejudiced by the decision, had gone to court to challenge the decision.

Anlé Spies, through her legal representation, Hurter Spies Inc, said this decision would result in serious inconvenience for her as she completed her matric in Pretoria but now resides around 1 000 km away from the school. It is important for her to receive her results as quickly as possible after they become known, so that she can prepare for the start of her university career. She said that there are several learners who moved or relocated to addresses far away from the schools where they sat their matric exams. “I can just imagine that a huge number of the more than one-million matriculants who wrote the matric exams last year are in a similar position to me in that they had moved or relocated to addresses far away from the schools they attended when they sat for the matric exams” said Anlé Spies to Times Live.

Deon Wertheim, the headmaster of Bernadina Heights in Cape Town, said: “Matric results are used as a barometer rightfully; wrongfully so, how successful the school is and that can create nervousness and even anxiety. But we can only by the virtue of the education department, release the results at 11 and that would then conclude their school career effectively and hopefully there’s reason for celebration.”

The Department of Basic Education (DBE) has previously said that it will not oppose the urgent application and will abide by the of the court. In addition to accessing results from media platforms, the department also urges candidates to register on its website to view the results when they become available.

Candidates will have to go through a two-step verification process before receiving confirmation of their registration. More than 30 000 people have already successfully registered for this service, said Times Live.

- News 24