Matriculant: Decision to not publish results infringes my right to be informed

Anie Spies writes that she has a clear right to have access to her matric results through other means other than the option to collect them from her school.

FILE: This exclusion is meant to reconcile the right to privacy and the right to freedom of expression. Picture: Supplied.

JOHANNESBURG - The Basic Education Department’s decision to withhold matric results from the media fails to adequately apply the exemption imposed by the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA).

This is according to a court application by AfriForum, Maroela Media and Anie Spies, a 2021 matriculant.

They are arguing that the eleventh-hour decision to release matric results only to pupils and not through media platforms as done in the past is irrational and ill-informed.

In the court submission, the applicants quote Section 1 of the POPI Act, which explicitly states that the law does not apply to the processing of personal information solely for the purpose of journalistic, literary or artistic expression.

This exclusion is meant to reconcile the right to privacy and the right to freedom of expression.

Spies writes that she has a clear right to have access to her matric results through other means other than the option to collect them from her school.

She is currently based over 1,000 kilometres away from the Pretoria school where she sat for her exams and is concerned that the change of plans by the department will not make it possible for her to access the results as quickly as possible.

She added that the unilateral decision infringes her clear right to fair administrative action and to be informed in a democratic country where the press and the media are allowed to express their journalistic duties freely.

The department did not consult pupils or media companies before making the announcement.

The matter will be heard in the High Court in Pretoria on Tuesday.