DBE now compelled to publish matric results after court interdict granted

The High Court in Pretoria has granted AfriForum and two others' an urgent interdict against the Department of Basic Education.

FILE: Matric pupils collect their results at St Johns College in Houghton, Johannesburg. Picture: Eyewitness News

JOHANNESBURG - The High Court in Pretoria has granted AfriForum and others an urgent interdict, forcing the Department of Basic Education to release the 2021 matric results on media platforms.

The application followed the department's decision to depart from the norm by only issuing the results to pupils at schools where they wrote their matric exams.

It said that this was done in consultation with the Information Regulator to comply with provisions of the Protection of Personal Information Act.

But the high court heard that the decision was irrational and ill-informed.

Tuesday morning's judgement means the results are expected to be released to the public on Friday.

Tuesday morning’s proceedings lasted about 20 minutes, with Judge Anthony Miller commending the parties involved for acting in good faith.

The Department of Basic Education did not oppose the matter, saying that it wanted the court to give clarity on how it must act so that it did not contravene the Protection of Personal Information Act.

Judge Miller said that the department’s decision would have negatively affected pupils from “modest” backgrounds.

He raised the issue of data costs when accessing the results on the department’s portal and even for those pupils who were not close to the schools where they wrote exams.

The department had planned to only issue the results internally and through statements that were sent to schools.

On Monday, its spokesperson, Elijah Mhlanga, conceded that they were not certain about the right approach to the matter, explaining that they had received contradictory legal advice.