The leaking of five matric papers in Mpumalanga had been the only proven hiccup marring the National Senior Certificate Examination, Education Department Chief Director Nkosinathi Sishi said on Friday.

“Leaking is considered the ultimate sin,” Mr Sishi told media in Pretoria as students across the country sat their final exams.

“I am unhappy about the fact that once you report a leak it adds stress to those students who still have to write.”

Mr Sishi said over 600,000 students had written their papers this year –slightly more than those who sat last year.

Teachers will now embark in earnest on the marking of the papers with the deadline of 18 December.

Mr Sishi said while all papers would be scrutinised, they would focus particularly on those written in Mpumalanga.

This was after two physical science and maths papers as well as one accounting paper were leaked before the start of exams.

Mr Sishi said 13 people had been arrested, two of whom were Department officials.

After the papers are marked the department will hand over a report to the national examinations irregularities committee on 21 December.

Mr Sishi said there were three types of irregularities: the first being technical, such as if an exam started late; the second administrative; and the third behaviour as in the case of the leaked exams. He also assured the public there would be no delay in releasing the results scheduled for 7 January, 2010.

(; 20091204)

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