South African police are on the trail of a person who was “at the centre” of leaked University of South Africa (Unisa) examination papers.
Unisa on Monday confirmed that papers for the October-November exam period were being leaked, while condemning the criminal act.
“The university condemns in the strongest terms these acts of criminality which undermine the efforts of students and lecturers alike,” spokesperson Martin Ramotshela said on Monday. “The university has also noted and taken to heart the concerns raised by students and other concerned stakeholders about the perceived slow pace of finding a solution to the problem of question paper leaks, including the resultant frustration and inconvenience visited upon innocent students.”
Ramotshela said the university took the matter “very seriously” and that its investigations into the leaks, conducted with the police, were at an advanced stage.
“The investigation has identified the individual at the centre of this illegal activity and the police are on his trail,” said Ramotshela.
He said the university would conduct a forensic audit into complaints from students that they had been receiving calls and text messages from private tutors offering to prepare them for examinations.
“While these tutors are not attached to Unisa in any way, the university has resolved to immediately conduct a forensic audit to determine how such private individuals gain access to information about the university and its students. Decisive action will be taken swiftly to deal with perpetrators as well as put measures in place to prevent a recurrence of this phenomenon,” Ramotshela said.
“We also reiterate our previous statements issued in this regard that any staff member, student or external person found to have participated in any illegal conduct will be dealt with harshly.
“In the case of staff and students of the university, they will be subjected to both the university’s relevant disciplinary processes as well as prosecution by the criminal justice system,” said Ramotshela.
He said additional security measures would be put in place “immediately” to conduct further investigations and review the current systems and processes.
“The university has also made progress in its bid to identify and close any loopholes and strengthen control measures with regard to the production and distribution of examination question papers to the various examination centres.
“Among the measures put in place with immediate effect, and which only relevant university officials are privy to, is the change in the delivery mode and timing of all examination question papers as well as improved checks and balances relating to the receiving and opening of examination question paper packages at the examination centres,” Ramotshela said.
He said anyone with knowledge about those involved in the buying and/or selling of leaked examination papers should report it to police or to the whistleblowers hotline at 0860 00 5050 (toll-free) or firstname.lastname@example.org.