Matric exam papers bar coded to prevent fraud

2013-11-03 14:01

Mandla Masango* owns a five-bedroom home in an up-market suburb, a Harley-Davidson bike and a fleet of cars, including a BMW X5 and a Mercedes-Benz AMG C63. All three of his sons have attended university.

Masango earned his money by selling stolen matric exam question papers?–?but now, he complains, “business is very, very tough” thanks to the strict new security measures introduced by the department of basic education.

For more than 20 years, Masango and at least eight of his agents in other provinces made a living through a syndicate that sold leaked matric question papers to pupils and their parents.

“It all started as a joke in 1994, but every year it grew in leaps and bounds. Eventually, it became an empire. Well, I say it became an empire because I ended up having agents selling question papers for me in all provinces except Gauteng. I did it for myself in Gauteng.

“I charged R2?000 a question paper and it was the money upfront or nothing.”

He claims he got away with this because potential clients had to use a string of go-betweens before they arrived at his door or that of his foot soldiers.

“If somebody rocked up from nowhere wanting to buy papers, I would send them packing, threatening to get them arrested for associating me with crime.

“I also got away because I wasn’t greedy and didn’t want to sell the papers to all matriculants. I would target a certain amount of money and once I got that, I would stop.”

Masango would not reveal how and where he got the question papers.

“I can tell you everything but not that. I’m sworn to secrecy. If I tell you that, I will put many other people in jeopardy.”

But he says he has no regrets.

“I didn’t kill or rape anyone. I just helped people achieve their dreams. No one got hurt or injured. It was a win-win situation for everyone involved.

“It’s all over now and I have to find other means of making money. But I worry less now. My house is paid up, my boys are out of varsity and I have a few investments here and there.”

The department would not answer questions about its security upgrades.

But City Press has reliably learnt that question papers are now bar coded to prevent fraud and leaks.

A well-placed source said: “The papers are bar coded. When they leave the printers, they know how many are going out and to which province, district or school. There is now no room for error.”

*?Not his real name

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