Quality assurance body Umalusi has revealed that 945 National Senior Certificate candidates were implicated in group copying, with 763 cases detected in KwaZulu-Natal and 164 in Mpumalanga.
During a media briefing on Monday, Umalusi CEO Dr Mafu Rakometsi said that KwaZulu-Natal accounted for a staggering 80.7% of all reported matric 2023 group copying incidents.
However, the exact number of reported cases across the country remains undisclosed.
Rakometsi said exam irregularities, particularly instances of cheating, with a significant focus on group copying cases were a major concern.
Rakometsi emphasised the need for a resolution, urging relevant bodies to prioritise the verification and resolution of these cases.
Addressing ongoing investigation, professor Yunus Ballim hinted that group copying may involve staff members as well.
“Umalusi is concerned about the group copying cases that have been detected in 2023, which involve 945 National Senior Certificate candidates,” said Rakometsi.
“Of the total, 763 cases were detected in KwaZulu-Natal and 164 [other] cases were dictated in Mpumalanga.”
He also announced the arrest of 11 suspects involved in the illicit sale of fake certificates, saying the arrests spanned over the past few weeks, with an official of the Department of Higher Education apprehended for allegedly selling a diploma for cash.
The arrests were made in various locations including Burgersfort in Limpopo and in Pretoria. The suspects are due in various courts later in January.
While loadshedding plagued South Africa throughout 2023, Umalusi assured that the matric exams were not significantly affected.
Despite the country enduring a record-breaking 332 days of rolling power cuts, Rakometsi cited that all assessment bodies had made alternative arrangements to mitigate the impact of planned blackouts during the examination period.
He expressed gratitude to the public for cooperating and ensuring a smooth examination process.
Said Rakometsi: “We are happy to report that all assessment bodies heeded the advice given to make alternative arrangements for the supply of power during the writing of examinations to mitigate the effects of loadshedding.
“Regarding community protests, the reports that we have received show that there were no widespread cases of community protests that may have prevented the candidates from writing their examinations.
“We would like to thank the South African public for heeding a call to protect the delicate processes that our learners have to go through during the examination phase.”