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Matric Free State marking centre hit by a tornado should be declared a national disaster, says expert

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A storm, followed by hail, hit parts of the Free State province and affected one of the marking centres where a roof was blown off while marking was in progress.

EDUCATION activist Hendrick Makaneta has called on the National Disaster Management Centre to declare the marking centre that was hit by a tornado in the Free State province, a national disaster.

“The Department of Basic Education should collaborate with the National Disaster Management Centre and provide more information about the various learner scripts that were affected at the marking centre.

“Since the scripts at one centre contribute to the national average along with scripts from several other provinces, it goes without saying that the developments at Albert Moroka Secondary School must be declared a national disaster.” Makaneta said.

Albert Moroko High School was used as a matric marking centre for accounting paper 2 and business studies paper 2. The roof of the marking centre was blown off by the storm while marking was in progress. A marker was slightly injured.

Makaneta said the results at one centre would affect the entire national average.

“It is for this reason that the entire process of verification and approval of marks will be greatly affected by the unfortunate situation that occurred in the Free State. In terms of Chapter 1(a)(ii) of the National Disaster Management Act No. 57 of 2002, the marking centre in the Free State province must be declared a disaster because of damage to property and infrastructure,” he said.

Makaneta called on the government to immediately provide counselling and pay the medical bills of all the teachers who were affected by the tornado, at its own cost.

“Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga should come up with a clearly defined way forward, considering that some of the scripts may have been damaged or lost in the process which already gives indications that the matric results will not be fair.”

The DBE chief director for public Examinations and assessments, Dr Rufus Poliah, said the senior officials from the department and Umalusi would be visiting the marking centre.

“We appeal for calm at this stage while we establish the extent of the damage. We are working as fast as possible to resolve the matter but we can assure the candidates that nobody will be disadvantaged as a result of this natural disaster”

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