Citizen reporter
3 minute read
9 Dec 2020
10:32 am

Court compels Motshekga to explain matric rewrite decision

Citizen reporter

AfriForum argued that the basic education minister based her decision on an interim report, which reportedly revealed that only 195 pupils had accessed the leaked papers.

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga. Picture: Tracy Lee Stark

Afrikaner lobby group AfriForum on Wednesday added its voice to the Department of Basic Education’s decision to make matric learners rewrite two examinations that were leaked. 

AfriForum said it would be assisting four matriculants on Wednesday in an urgent court application in the Gauteng division of the High Court in Pretoria. 

The court has subsequently given Basic Education Minister, Angie Motshekga, until 12pm to deliver the full record of proceedings that led to her decision, AfriForum’s lawyer Willie Spies confirmed to The Citizen.

“All matters will be heard simultaneously at 10 o’clock tomorrow [Thursday] morning,” Spies said.

The South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu) was due to file court papers opposing the department’s decision on Tuesday.

AfriForum said the court application aimed to reverse the decision by Basic Education Minister, Angie Motshekga. 

ALSO READ: Legal battle not good for matric learners, rewrite ‘only fair decision’, says PEU

Maths paper two and physical science paper two were leaked last week, with rewrites for the former scheduled on 15 December, and the latter on 17 December. 

Most unions and teaching organisations are opposed to Motshekga’s decision to have all matric learners rewrite the exams. 

AfriForum argued that Motshekga based her decision on an interim report, which reportedly revealed that only 195 pupils had accessed the leaked papers.

“It was also found that most pupils accessed the leaked papers through a WhatsApp group of top achievers, a group selected by the department for ‘preferential treatment and support’,” AfriForum education rights advisor Natasha Venter said. 

Venter said it would unfairly disadvantage the estimated 400,000 pupils who had not seen the leaked exams, and wrote both papers “in an honest manner”. 

ALSO READ: Class of 2020: Union, dept butting heads over matric paper rewrites

She said the department should rather focus on “bringing to book the guilty persons who acted dishonestly by using the leaked papers and making them available”.

Venter further explained in a statement that the department’s own regulations stated that if an irregularity did not result from the actions of the student writing the exam, and if the candidate did not gain from it, that the exam paper must be marked, and the result made known. 

“Research has shown that learners’ marks in final examinations can be determined with 93% accuracy by studying their preceding marks.”

This, she said, meant there were ways to determine which pupils did benefit from the leaked exams, and urged the department to focus on finding these matriculants, instead of disadvantaging the entire class of 2020. 

“We cannot allow Motshekga and her department to disadvantage learners who have worked hard throughout their entire school career – and this because the department’s systems were inadequate in the first place to prevent question papers being leaked. There are other, better ways to ensure the integrity of the exam,” Venter said.

This is a developing story. Updates to follow as more information is made available. 

Compiled by Nica Richards

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