Court to hear what motivated decision to make all matrics rewrite their exams

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  • AfriForum's challenge against the decision to make matriculants rewrite exams will continue in the Gauteng High Court on Thursday.
  • The lobby group believes the decision will disadvantage many pupils who wrote the exam honestly.
  • AfriForum said it had received the minutes of the meeting which led to the decision, but were awaiting affidavits.

The Gauteng High Court in Pretoria is expected to hear arguments on the reasons for the decision to make the 2020 matriculants rewrite their exams.

AfriForum's Willie Spies told News24 on Wednesday that its High Court application was postponed to Thursday.

"In this matter, Umalusi has filed the answer this morning, but the minister has not. The court ordered that the minister has to file her opposing affidavit by 13:00 this afternoon and, by 12:00, she had to file the record of the proceedings that led to the decision to rewrite.

"I just got the documents [minutes] from the state attorney, but we are still waiting for the affidavits," he said.

WATCH | Leaked matric papers to be rewritten, says Angie Motshekga

Lobby group AfriForum approached the court on Wednesday 9 December to assist four matric pupils - with an urgent application in the Gauteng Division of the High Court in Pretoria to reverse the decision by Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga that two exam papers be rewritten by all matriculants. The papers were allegedly leaked.  

Motshekga announced on 4 December that matrics had to rewrite the Mathematics II and Physical Science II papers.

She said "it was not an easy decision to take, but one which [was] necessary under the circumstances," News24 reported.

The lobby group said it was opposing the decision because it would unfairly disadvantage "approximately 400 000 matrics who took the exam in an honest manner". 

The advisor for education rights at AfriForum, Natasha Venter, is of the view that there are ways and means to determine which pupils did indeed gain unfair benefit from the leaked question papers, and that the department should focus on such investigations rather than disadvantaging other pupils.

"Research has shown that learners' marks in final examinations can be determined with 93% accuracy by studying their preceding marks.

"We cannot allow Motshekga and her department to disadvantage learners who have worked hard throughout their entire school career - and this because the department's systems were inadequate in the first place to prevent question papers being leaked. There are other, better ways to ensure the integrity of the exam," Venter said in a statement on Monday.

Department of Basic Education spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga confirmed to News24 that there were four court actions against the department.

"We have responded to all four. We are arguing against all four tomorrow in court," he said.

The case will continue in the High Court on Thursday.

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