An alleged matric cheat has been caught at a school in KwaZulu-Natal.
Last week, a vigilant invigilator at a school in Newcastle noticed that an ID photo did not match that of the person writing the exam.
With the exams now into its third week, education officials issued a warning against cheating.
Aside from a five-year ban, criminal charges will be laid against offenders, said the department.
Muzi Mahlambi, the head of communications at the KZN Department of Education, said: “The invigilator noticed someone sitting on behalf of the candidate, who was supposed to be sitting as a part-time candidate. This matter has been reported to the South African Police Service.”
In the Newcastle matter, both the 19-year-old who sat in for the pupil and the matric pupil were arrested and are facing charges of fraud.
Mahlambi said no other incidents had been reported or detected in KZN to date.
“Cheating is a serious offence in the examination. It puts pupils and teachers in a serious situation. Results can be withheld, pupils can be barred from writing the exams for five years, they could be arrested and educators could be fired,” he said.
During a media briefing at the start of the National Senior Certificate finals, the Ministry of Basic Education said more than 717 377 matric pupils would sit for their final examinations across 6 898 centres.
A total of 207 question papers, 72 500 invigilators and 52 500 markers will drive the examination process. The exams end on December 5.
Umalusi had approved all the question papers to be administered in the October/November 2023 examinations, while Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga said security measures were enhanced to prevent paper leaks in all provinces, with the State Security Agency having audited the processes.
Among other subjects, week four of the exams, November 20 to 24, will see pupils sit for life sciences paper 2 and electrical technology on Monday. Geography paper 2 will be on Tuesday followed by isiZulu (home language, first additional language and second additional language, paper 2) and South African Sign Language (home language, paper 2) on Wednesday.
isiZulu (home language, first additional language and second additional language, paper 2) and tourism, as well as nautical science paper 1 will be on Thursday; and accounting paper 2 and agricultural sciences paper 1 on Friday.
For the full exam timetable, see www.education.gov.za.