Picture: Thomas Holder

Limpopo - Over 15 000 matric candidates in the Vhembe District of Limpopo will have to rewrite the leaked Life Sciences exam papers.

Investigations show that the leak was confined to five circuits in the Vhembe District and the paper was sent by WhatsApp to five candidates in Gauteng and two candidates in Mpumalanga, according to a statement by the Department of Basic Education on Thursday.

Candidates from outside Limpopo are to be dealt with on an individual basis, it said.

It was first believed the Life Sciences paper 2 was the only one leaked, but it was later discovered that paper 1 was also compromised.

The department launched an investigation, which included officials from the SA Qualifications Authority, Unisa and Umalusi into the leaked paper, after it was discovered that candidates had access to it two hours before the exam, earlier this month.

Basic Education spokesman Elijah Mhlanga said a criminal case has been opened and the Hawks have now taken over the investigation in all three provinces.

Candidates who are found to have cheated in the exams can be banned from sitting for matric for three years.

Candidates will rewrite the Life Sciences paper 1 next Friday and paper 2 on December 8. A total of 15 960 full-time and 1 540 part-time candidates will write the Life Sciences exams.

Mhlanga said the dates will be communicated to the candidates directly.

“The rewrite covers the whole district, so that schools that might not have emerged during the preliminary investigations, but which are also tainted, will be taken care of,” he said.

“The department hopes to send a clear message to learners and schools about the consequences of such malpractices. The department is aware that some learners, who did not cheat, will have to rewrite the examinations; however this is the unfortunate consequence which is vital in maintaining the credibility of the NSC examinations in the country.”

Mhlanga reiterated that the department would not tolerate cheating.

Friday is the last day of the official matric exams and candidates will sit for Visual Arts in the morning and the music paper 2 in the afternoon.

A total of 801 688 matriculants are registered for the exams - which is the highest number of pupils to have enrolled for the exams since 1994.

The results are expected to be out on January 6.

The Star

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