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High Court expected to rule on matric results publishing ban after AfriForum, Maroela Media and 2021 matric pupil file affidavits

There is hope for matric pupils to access results on newspapers and social media platforms after Minister Motshekga did not oppose the application to set her decision aside.

There is hope for matric pupils to access results on newspapers and social media platforms after Minister Motshekga did not oppose the application to set her decision aside.

Published Jan 17, 2022

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DURBAN - The North Gauteng High Court is expected to rule whether thousands of matric pupils will be able to access their results on newspapers and other media platforms on Tuesday.

The civil rights organisation AfriForum has filed an urgent court application in support of a matric pupil who filed to challenge the Basic Education Minister’s decision to ban newspapers from publishing matric results.

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AfriForum, Maroela Media and 2021 matric pupil Anle Spies, filed their affidavits on Friday and asked the court to set aside the department’s decision.

On Sunday, the department issued a statement, saying it would not oppose the application and would abide by whatever decision the court would take. This raised hope and was welcomed by the AfriForum, which issued a statement, saying it hopes to ensure in the court that the 2021-matriculants will be able to access their results on media platforms as has been the norm in the past.

Last week, there was mixed reaction to the announcement made by Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga, who said results would no longer be published on newspapers and social media platforms, citing psychological problems for the failed pupils.

The minister also supported her decision by quoting the POPI Act (Protection of Personal Information), which came into effect in July last year.

The argument which the judge is expected to rule on will be whether releasing the matric pupils examination number should be regarded as revealing her identity or not.

This argument would have been the basis of the opposing side but since the department chose not to oppose, it will be up to the judge’s discretion whether there will be any harm to the releasing of the pupils’ examination numbers.

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Apart from pupils and parents who will be waiting for the judgment with keen interest, media houses will be closely watching the developments in court since the decision also affects them.

Various media houses, which have been publishing results for years, slammed the decision last week, describing it as ridiculous, saying they did not understand how it was going to stop people from committing suicide if their results were negative.

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