The Department of Basic Education has announced that matric exam results will no longer be published on any media public platforms in order to comply with the requirements of the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA).
The department says the new rule was introduced to respect the right to privacy to protect against unlawful collection, retention, dissemination, and use of personal information belonging to school pupils.
On 1 July 2020, the Act as a whole came into effect. However, local companies were given a one-year grace period to comply.
The purpose of the legislation is to ensure all South African institutions conduct themselves in a responsible manner when collecting, processing, storing, and sharing another entity’s personal information, by holding them accountable should they abuse or compromise personal information in any way.
In a statement released this morning, the department notes: “The department recognizes that section 14 of the Constitution provides that everyone has the right to privacy. This right to privacy includes a right to protection against the unlawful collection, retention, dissemination, and use of personal information.
“In order to comply with the provisions of the POPIA, the usual practice of publishing the national senior certificate (NSC) results on public platforms (media platforms) will not occur for 2021.”
According to the department, all learners are now required to physically collect their results from their schools.
The Act stipulates that businesses and entities that don’t comply with POPIA, regardless of whether it’s intentional or accidental, can face severe penalties.
The Act makes provision for fines of up to R10 million and a jail sentence of up to 10 years, depending on the seriousness of the breach.