The Department of Basic Education says it is confident that the damage caused by storm at a marking centre in Thaba Nchu, Free State, will not impact adversely on the finalisation and release of results in the province.

A storm, followed by hail, hit part of the province and affected a marking centre. The roof was blown away, while marking was in progress on Wednesday.

The marking centre is situated at Albert Moroka High School, where Accounting Paper 2 and Business Studies Paper 2 were being marked.

Marking at the centre commenced on 8 December and was scheduled to conclude on 22 December 2021.

There are 112 markers at the marking centre.

Chief Director for Public Examinations and Assessments at the department, Dr Rufus Poliah, said markers ran for cover as the storm pounded the venue where the scripts were being processed.

“One marker was slightly injured, while the rest escaped unscathed,” Poliah said.

He said initial reports indicate that some of the scripts were damaged in the hail that followed.

“A high-powered delegation consisting of senior officials from the DBE and Umalusi will 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.”

Poliah said the department is working together with the Free State Education Department and Umalusi to ensure that marking at the centre is restored, and that the marking credibility and integrity is intact.

Poliah said the department will relocate marking to another location as soon as possible.

“We thank all our colleagues on the scene for working hard to ensure that everybody is safe. We will provide counselling to members of the marking team following the trauma and shock of the events that threatened their lives.”

Source: South African Government News Agency