Correctional Services said that “matters are under control” at Johannesburg’s Sun City Prison on Wed.
BASIC Education acting director-general Bobby Soobrayan says South Africa "faces a crisis in basic education".
Soobrayan told Parliament's basic education portfolio committee yesterday that the low matric pass rate would not improve unless the system were overhauled.
He said 54percent of all pupils drop out before they reach Grade 12, most of them after Grade 9.
Only 35percent of all Grade 3 pupils are numerate and by Grade 6 this drops to 27percent.
The department aims to increase the number of literate and numerate Grade 3s and Grade 6s to 60percent by 2014. Their aim is also to have 175000 students qualifying to enter a Bachelor's degree by 2014 - a 10percent increase a year.
By 2014, the department says 95,5percent of all those entering Grade 1 must have completed a good quality Grade R.
The department planned to "rescue" schools with matric passes of lower than 20percent, after President Jacob Zuma asked them to come up with reasons why these schools should stay open.
Soobrayan said the department had entered into a social contract with teachers' unions. The unions agreed they would not defend teachers who did not deliver.
He called on the media to stop complaining about education problems "as if we are the worst in the world".
But ID MP Haniff Hoosen said: "Every time you get a new minister, you get a new plan but the results remain the same."
ANC MP Nomalungelo Gina asked why pupils who would sit for supplementary exams later this month did not even have timetables yet.
Committee chair Fatima Chohan said the leaks of matric papers in Mpumalanga last year were "serious".
She said the committee would go out to check on security measures in place.