DBE's move to scrap publishing of matric results set for court challenge

The court application by AfriForum, Maroela Media and Anlé Spies – a 2021 matriculant – is asking the court to compel the department to continue with the release, arguing that the sudden change is both irrational and ill-informed.

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

JOHANNESBURG - The High Court in Pretoria will hear arguments on Tuesday morning against the Basic Education Department’s decision not to release last year’s matric results on media platforms.

The court application by AfriForum, Maroela Media and Anlé Spies – a 2021 matriculant – is asking the court to compel the department to continue with the release, arguing that the sudden change is both irrational and ill-informed.

The parties have applied for an urgent interdict.

The Department of Basic Education’s spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga said that the decision to withhold the matric results from the media was arrived at following consultation with the Information Regulator.

However, he said that some legal advice sought to clarify how they should act to comply with the Protection of Personal Information Act (Popia) contradicted the regulator’s guidance.

"We sought legal opinion which goes one way and the Information Regulator said something else and also other people that we contacted in the legal fraternity are also giving varying interpretations of that Act, so we will wait for the court, the competent authority to tell us how to proceed," Mhlanga said.

The department will not be contesting the case but the Information Regulator is cited as one of the respondents, so it will present its side.

The applicants argue that the decision fails to adequately apply the exemption imposed by the Protection of Personal Information Act.