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Matric results can be published online by media platforms, court rules

18 January 2022 - 10:02 By Shonisani Tshikalange and Kgaugelo Masweneng
The high court in Pretoria has granted the application for matric results to be published online, brought by Anlé Spies.
The high court in Pretoria has granted the application for matric results to be published online, brought by Anlé Spies.
Image: Supplied

The Pretoria high court has granted an urgent application by an 18-year-old matric pupil to reverse basic education minister Angie Motshega’s decision not to publish matric results on newspaper platforms.

The pupil’s application was supported by AfriForum and Maroela Media.

The court ordered the department “to publish the National Senior Certificate results on public platforms (media platforms) as was the practice in previous years, concurrently with making available the results to the schools that had been attended by the learners”.

At the core of the argument was the practicality of only receiving the results at the school where they completed their matric, meaning that if a pupil is not at the school on the day, they might not receive their results timeously.

Anlé Spies, through her legal representation, Hurter Spies Inc, said this decision would result in grave inconvenience for her as she completed her matric in Pretoria but now resides some 1,000km away from the school, outside Gqeberha in the Eastern Cape.

She said it was “critically” important for her to receive her results as quickly as possible after they become known, “since I only have a few days to prepare for the commencement of my university career at the University of the Free State”.

With the results due for release on Thursday, she said in her papers: “There will only be one week from the date of announcement of the matric results until the day on which I have to report in Bloemfontein to commence my orientation at the residence I intend staying in.

“This is unlike previous years. In the past matric results (except for last year) used to be announced shortly after Christmas or in early January, leaving three to four weeks before students had to report for their studies at the respective campuses of tertiary institutions they intended visiting,” said Spies.

“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.”

She disputed the relevance of the argument that the department was fulfilling the POPI Act as the results that used to be published in newspapers never contained the names of matriculants. “It merely contained the examination number of a specific matriculant, the examination centre where the exams were written, and an indication of subjects which a matriculant may have passed with distinction.

“In this way the publication of matric results on independent online platforms or in printed newspapers never disclosed the identity of matriculants themselves, but merely disclosed their examination numbers together with their results,” she said.

The department of basic education said it will abide by the ruling.

“This means that the department will make available the results to stakeholders who requested access.”

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.

The DBE website is zero-rated, which means it can be accessed whether matrics have data or not.

Candidates will have to go through a two-step verification process before receiving confirmation of their registration: A 13-digit ID number and Exam Number will be required for registration.

More than 30,000 people have already successfully registered for this service, said the department.

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