Maverick Citizen


Free State matrics caught with crib notes, phones in examination centres

Free State matrics caught with crib notes, phones in examination centres
(Photo: Gallo Images / Jaco Marais)

A probe into these ‘serious irregularities’ will ensue, say education authorities.

Crib notes, phones in exam centres, persistent rain, protests and a car crash.

These were among the hiccups reported as matrics began the third week of the finals exams which, Department of Basic Education spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga reported, have otherwise been progressing well. 

Without naming the affected provinces, Mhlanga told Daily Maverick the incidents had been reported and logged, and a decision will be made at a later stage about what happens to the implicated pupils.

Mhlanga added: “There are no worrying incidents except from the threatening adverse conditions, but nothing has happened yet to concern us.”

Read more in Daily Maverick: How does the class of 2022 stack up? We compare the matric results to previous years

The adverse conditions included persistent rain and community protests in some parts of North West.

“It’s been resolved now,” he said.

‘We caught them’

While the Free State too reported that the exams were going well, provincial education spokesperson Howard Ndaba said four cases of serious irregularities had been reported.

“Two candidates were found in possession of cellphones in the exam rooms and two candidates were found in possession of crib notes.”

“Investigations related to the above cases are ongoing and once concluded, the implicated candidates will be subjected to formal hearings,” he said.

Ndaba added that the “conduct, administration and management of exams is going well”. 

“Our examination sessions are being monitored to support and ensure compliance in our examination centres.”

Read more in Daily Maverick: Load shedding could adversely affect computer-related matric exams, say authorities

One candidate, Ndaba said, was involved in an accident on the way to an exam centre.

It had not yet been established whether the pupil was ready to continue writing the exams. A medical report from the doctor would be taken into consideration and the candidate would automatically be registered for the 2024 May/June exams. 

The 2023 matrics began their exams on 30 October with the English First Additional Language paper one (P1) and paper two (P2) and other optional languages.

According to a department report tabled before the parliamentary portfolio committee on basic education on 19 September 2023, 723,971 full-time and 129,064 part-time candidates nationally are registered to write at 6,800 exam centres.

This year’s registered candidates, the report read, had decreased from 753,964 in 2022.

The Free State obtained an 88.5% matric pass rate last year, followed by Gauteng (84.4%) and KwaZulu-Natal (83.0%).

The report said 35,642 full-time candidates and 7,594 part-time candidates are registered for this year’s exams. DM


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Jon Quirk says:

    What do we expect? Our politicians, from the cabinet down, routinely lie, cheat, steal on a daily basis.

    Unless and until we have people who not only have morals and and ethical approach to all aspects of life, and fundamentally stick to them, we cannot expect higher standards from peoples who have learnt that the way to get ahead, to get your own blue-light brigade and personal protection detail, as well as your own bottomless cookie jar, is to cheat.

    Just ask Gweezy, Squirrel, Ju-Ju, Fokkol et al…

    • Sydney Kaye says:

      Quite right. They also fake their so called qualifications, never resign but hang on to the bitter end after being exposed, and lie through their teeth to maintain their unearned salaries and perks. Great roll models.

  • C Venter says:

    A bit more care when selecting photos to go with stories? If I were Tygerberg High School I would be a bit upset by the pairing of my school’s name with the head right above.

    • Peter Holmes says:

      Absolutely agree. What on Earth has the photo got to do with the story? Might just as well have included a photo of a penguin or a ______ (choose your own arbitrary subject).

  • Nic Bosveld says:

    To resort to cheating to achieve 30% – quite creative for such dimwits.

  • Bob Dubery says:

    Seriously? Two pupils with crib notes? Well I never. That’s been going on since my matric days (45 years ago), but education dept spokespersons didn’t report this to the press back then. Your exam paper did get torn up and you were shown the way out.

    It’s fair game for reporting, but let’s not imagine that this is some sort of new degeneracy, some novel thing that is post-Apartheid. It’s been going on forever.

  • Well done to the Free State Department of Education for reporting/exposing such learners, we don’t want to be seen as the Province that performs well because of dishonest learners.
    Well done Mr Ndaba de Spokesperson of Free State Department of Education.

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