'Cheating matrics' to face state in court soon

Matric pupils implicated in the group-cheating scandal in KwaZulu-Natal may soon have their day in court.

Today, their lawyers will approach the Durban High Court to secure a court date. The lawyers are representing 139 pupils from Mashiyamahle High School in Ndwedwe, northern KwaZulu-Natal, who took the Department of Basic Education to court refuting allegations that they were involved in the group-copying scandal that rocked last year's matric exams.

Irregularities were found in mathematics, English, life sciences and physical sciences.

The pupils have denied cheating and said they were implicated due to "union rivalry".

"This political issue concerns the teacher unions to which the majority of the teachers and the principal belong. We have heard it being stated in the community that there is an attempt to force out the current principal by creating this allegation of group cheating so that the way can be cleared for another person to be given the post of principal," reads the responding affidavit.

In the answering affidavit, Basic Education chief director Dr Rufus Poliah said investigations revealed that pupils from Mashiyamahle were assisted during their exams.

"For example, in may instances where an independent objective thinking was required, they came up with a common incorrect answer, or in some instances they will get the formula or the principle wrong but surprisingly they came up with a correct product at the end ..."

Education spokesman Elijah Mhlanga said the department was in the process of wrapping up the investigation .