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Media Release

27 November, 2002

Court jails chief invigilator for stealing three matric papers

Statement by André Gaum, Western Cape Education Minister

The Chief Invigilator at Khanyolwethu Secondary School on Lwandle, Strand, was sentenced this morning (27 November 2002) to an effective term of one year in prison for stealing three Senior Certificate examination papers from the school earlier this month.

Sheila Ndengezi, 30, pleaded guilty in the Strand magistrate’s court to stealing Biology, Mathematics and Geography papers after entering the strong room of the school to collect History papers to be written that day (7 November 2002).

The magistrate found her guilty and sentenced her to three years’ imprisonment, of which two years have been suspended for four years.

South African Police Services arrested Ndengezi after receiving information that the Mathematics standard grade paper had been leaked.

She said in her admission to the police that she had stolen the Mathematics, Biology and Geography papers, and that she had given the papers to only two learners at the school. The police recovered the stolen papers.

Thanks to the prompt action of the police, the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) and the local community, we are satisfied that the leak was contained to the area.

The WCED replaced the Mathematics standard grade paper at Khanyolwethu and three other examination centres in the area as a precautionary measure, and will monitor results in general to detect any unusual trends, in line with standard practice.

We view this criminal act in the most serious light, and welcome the prison sentence handed down by the court.

Two of these papers – Mathematics and Biology – were national examinations. This selfish act could have jeopardised the results of thousands of Senior Certificate candidates, not only in the province, but across the country.

Her actions could have inconvenienced many thousands of candidates, while also resulting in wasted expenditure running to many millions of rands.

I would like to thank the police, the court and my officials for dealing so swiftly and professionally in dealing with this matter. Anyone contemplating similar acts in the future can be assured that they will feel the full weight of the law.

Media inquiries:
Ruhan Robbertze
Cell: 082 577 6551
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