Two national senior certificate examination papers have been leaked since the examinations started.
The Mathematics Paper 2 and Physical Science Paper 2 are both alleged to have been leaked via WhatsApp since the final national senior certificate (NSC) exams, also called matric exams, began on 5 November.
While investigations are still underway to trace the source of the leaks and examine their extent, the initial leak of the maths paper on 16 November was traced only to Limpopo and Gauteng, but it later emerged that all provinces except Free State were affected.
"Leaks can happen anywhere. It's not provinces, but people in the provinces. It's a sick mind that makes a person do this. They can be anywhere in the country," said Elijah Mhlanga, the department's head of communication.
Learners found to have been in possession of the paper before the official exam face a maximum three-year ban from writing their exams, Mhlanga added.
The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) and the South African Police Services (SAPS) were called in to investigate the origin of the leak. Officials found to have been involved face suspension and possibly criminal sanctions.
The leaks will also be investigated by Umalusi, the South...