Motshekga to the rescue

ANALYSING REPORTS: Chairperson of Umalusi Professor John Volmink (left) and chief executive officer Dr Mafu S Rakometsi. Pic: Peggy Nkomo. Circa 2009. © Sowetan.
ANALYSING REPORTS: Chairperson of Umalusi Professor John Volmink (left) and chief executive officer Dr Mafu S Rakometsi. Pic: Peggy Nkomo. Circa 2009. © Sowetan.

BASIC Education Minister Angie Motshekga last night stepped in to ensure that 80percent of Mpumalanga's matriculants receive their results on Thursday.

This after Umalusi, the body that certifies the integrity of the results, had announced earlier in Pretoria that 60000 pupils in the province would not get their results because investigations were still continuing following the leak of five exam papers in the province in October.

But education spokesperson Panyaza Lesufi said 48000 pupils in Mpumalanga would get their results on Thursday with the rest of the more than 500000 pupils who wrote the Grade 12 examinations. The outstanding 12000 would get theirs by Monday next week.

"The minister will tomorrow (Tuesday) meet with Umalusi to discuss the issue. We expect 80percent of the results to be released by Thursday and the remaining 20percent at least by Monday," he said.

The decision to only withhold results in affected areas was announced after a meeting between Motshekga, Premier David Mabuza and education MEC Regina Mhaule.

It was also agreed that the province would be stripped of its accreditation to run exams.

"From now on, examinations in Mpumalanga will be controlled by the national department. The province will have to re-apply for accreditation, but for now we will ask Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and the Free State for assistance," he said.

Lesufi also said the organised crime unit Hawks had been called in to probe the Mpumalanga education department's conduct.

The five exam papers leaked were Maths Paper 1 and Paper 2, Physical Science Paper 1 and Paper 2 and Accounting. The papers were immediately replaced.

Umalusi chairperson Professor John Volmink said earlier: "There are various investigations from SAPS, the Department of Basic Education and the integrity unit.

"We received reports over the last couple of weeks and some we received today. By the nature of the reports it will take time for Umalusi to apply its mind to them. We cannot do that immediately, we need a few days.

"We hope that we will get final data on the results in Mpumalanga tomorrow (today), then we will begin to analyse the data."

Volmink said the way the department had conducted the examinations was "a disappointment".

Mpumalanga's history of leaked exam papers:

l Late last year, 13 people were arrested for leaking matric exam papers. They included a typist in the examination directorate and a prison warder whose Internet café was used to copy the question papers.

The department has suspended the typist and the chief education specialist: question paper and marking. The latter did not face any criminal charges.

l A teacher, Milton Msimango, 32, and pupils Patience Mkhantshwa, 22, and Charity Xulu, 23, appeared in court in connection with the same investigation. They return to court on January 11.

This was not the first time that matric results in Mpumalanga were withheld. This also happened in 2004 after allegations of corruption surfaced.

l In 1998, the Mpumalanga matric exams also came under the spotlight when the pass rate was escalated by 20percent.