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By Karyn Maughan and Angelique Serrao
ANC Youth League President Julius Malema scraped through matric with an H in maths and a G in woodwork, both on the Standard Grade (SG).
While the league has branded the emailed list of Malema's lacklustre results as a "faked" attempt to discredit him, Independent Newspapers has established that the results are real.
A senior source at the department of education this week confirmed that a digital copy of Malema's results is "genuine".
The email reveals that Malema, 27, passed matric with Es in Sepedi HG and second language Afrikaans HG, an F in geography HG, D in history SG and a C in second language English HG, the latter being his highest mark.
When initially approached for comment on Malema's results, which he reportedly obtained at the age of 21, youth league spokesperson Floyd Shivambu was adamant that they were "fake".
"We as the youth league became aware of this (email) early last week and we regard it as not being a reflection of reality that is designed to discredit our leadership.
"You can see from how these results were written that they are not real."
He added that the youth league had considered consulting computer experts about establishing the source of the email, which he said he believed was someone "with an agenda".
He, however, declined to reveal what Malema's "real" results were, stating that the youth league was "not focused on the individual, but the collective".
Contacted by Independent Newspapers on Thursday, after the education department confirmed the authenticity of the results, Shivambu reiterated that "as far as we're concerned, these results are not a reflection of reality".
Besides, he said, "we are not preoccupied with personal achievements in the ANC Youth League... we don't want to look at personal achievements".
"This really is not much of a crisis for us; it won't keep us awake at night."
Malema, who could not be reached for comment, has previously admitted that he failed both Grades 8 and 9, but said this was because he could not contain his excitement about joining Cosas (Congress of South African Students).
He reportedly never achieved more than 60 percent in any of his school subjects during this time.
Despite his poor results, Malema successfully registered for a law degree at Unisa.