Hawks make arrest in matric maths paper leak

The Hawks have arrested a man who has been linked to the leak of the mathematics paper two that was written by grade 12 learners three weeks ago. 

Themba Daniel Shikwambana, 31, was arrested on Wednesday and appeared in court yesterday. He was granted bail and will return in court in January. 

In a statement, the Hawks said Shikwambana works for a Johannesburg-based company that is contracted by the department of basic education to print exam papers for the class of 2020. 

Initially the department had said that the paper — which was leaked a few hours before it was written — had been leaked in Gauteng and Limpopo. However, a few days later, the department’s chief director of national assessments and public examinations, Rufus Poliah, said in a media brief that the question paper was leaked in eight of the nine provinces, with the Free State being the exception. 

Poliah said the department was made aware of the leak after a university student in Johannesburg, who also runs a nongovernmental organisation that assists learners, had emailed it to department spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga. The student told Mhlanga that he had received the question paper from four learners in Gauteng who wanted him to assist in answering it.  

Poliah also announced that the first report into the series of investigations into the leak would be concluded on Monday. 

In a statement today, the department said the Council of Education Ministers (CEM) — composed of basic education minister Angie Motshekga, the nine MECs and heads of department — received a preliminary report into the leaked question paper. 

 

“CEM deliberated on the report and noted that the investigation had not yet been completed and that more work still needed to be done. The council agreed that the credibility, integrity and fairness of the examination cannot be compromised,” reads the statement. 

Last week, the department said that it was also investigating reports of a physical science paper two leak, which was also allegedly circulated hours before it was to be written. And on Sunday, Gauteng MEC for education Panyaza Lesufi said that a life sciences question paper might also have been leaked. 

The Hawks have said that they are investigating the leaking of other papers. 

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Bongekile Macupe
Bongekile Macupe is an education reporter at the Mail & Guardian.

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