The department of basic education instructed media not to publish the 2021 matric results. Picture: VELI NHLAPO
The department of basic education instructed media not to publish the 2021 matric results. Picture: VELI NHLAPO

The SA National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) has expressed surprise at the department of basic education’s last-minute decision — without consultation — to scrap the publication of matric results in the media.

Sanef said on Friday that the lack of consultation by the department was not only unfortunate but also had negative financial implications for media companies which had already, for instance, procured additional printing paper and created the architecture for data sets to enable publication of the results in digital and print format.

“This comes at a time when media companies are facing a financial crunch as the result of Covid-19. Therefore, we would have preferred prior engagement from the department on how best to manage the publication of the 2021 matric results.”

The department made the announcement in a statement on Tuesday, citing the Protection of Personal Information (Popi) Act, and told media outlets not to publish the 2021 matric results — due to be released next week.

“To not allow media houses to publish the 2021 matric results is not only unfortunate but also came as a surprise to Sanef as there was no prior warning or consultation. It must be made clear that we welcome and fully support the application and the intentions of the act — to safeguard the protection of personal information of individuals,” said Sanef.

It said the department had also not shed any light on how the publication of results with individual student numbers would adversely affect learners.

“Sanef has written to the department to express its displeasure and remains hopeful that the matter can still be resolved amicably — ahead of the release of the results.”

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