STUDENTS whose 2012 matric results were withheld by the Mpumalanga Department of Education say they are disappointed about the Mbombela High Court’s failure to deliver judgment on the matter, saying it denied them closure.
The affected students approached the court challenging the provincial Department of Education’s decision to withhold their results over allegations of widespread cheating in the Bohlabela region, which includes Nelspruit and Bushbuckridge.
The allegations surfaced in January this year.
The court’s verdict was expected on Friday, but it was not delivered, prompting concerns by the affected learners and the South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU) about the impact of the delays on the lives and careers of the implicated pupils.
“We are disappointed about the fact that the court did not release the outcome, which we believe would have paved the way for the students and teachers who are implicated in the cheating scandal, “ said SADTU provincial secretary Walter Hlaise.
Hlaise said the delay in releasing the court outcome is a serious problem because some teachers and students believed they would finally have a peaceful sleep after getting certainty about their futures and careers.
Some of the students who hired a lawyer, Advocate July Subuyi, to take up their matter, shared Hlaise’s sentiment.
“I am also disappointed that the court did not release the outcome of the court case that we are involved in. We really need to continue with our lives. If the court says the department is alright by not releasing our results, it’s also okay; we just need closure to this matter,” said Thando Khoza, one of the students that reported the education department to court.
Bennet Ndlovu, from Hlabekisa High School in Manyeleti, said he was also disappointed about the delays in releasing the court judgment.
“Nobody told us anything about the outcome of the case. We really need the thing to be done with so we can continue with our lives. I was hoping that today I was going to be briefed about the case so I can decide how to plan my future,” said Ndlovu.
Spokesperson Jasper Zwane said he won’t comment much as the case is in court.
“Given that the matter is now in court, the department regards it as subjudice, and will prefer to cooperate with that process and to refrain from making public statements. Be that as it may, the view of the department Is that the credibility and integrity of the examination are paramount and that any wrongdoing must be dealt with in accordance with the policy framework which governs such an examination.”
Sunday World reported two weeks ago that a leaked document from the department showed that 128 learners from different schools around Manyeleti near Hoedspruit were “investigated after being suspected of cheating during the 2022 grade 12 final exams”.
Another document also seen by Sunday World showed that 37 students who were found guilty of cheating were given letters informing them that they would have to rewrite the subjects in November 2024.
Another letter from the Mpumalanga Department of Education, however, contradicted the second document by stating that “the department will offer you (students) to rewrite the affected subject papers in June 2023”.
The Mpumalanga Department of Education has denied allegations that they were dragging their feet in the investigation of irregularities that happened during the 2022 grade 12 final exams.
A teacher who invigilated matric examinations and a provincial government official said after the allegations surfaced, the results of the learners had been released bit by bit, which made the process long.
“What I can tell you is that some of the results are still pending,” said the source.