Answer to a question from a reader

How can I get my exam results that have been stuck at the education department for three years?

The short answer

You can lodge a complaint, but it has to be done in a specific sequence: first lay a complaint at the school, then the provincial district office, then head office, then the minister.

The whole question

Dear Athalie

My son has been waiting three years for the results of his rewrite of the level 4 equal to Grade 9 Afrikaans paper in 2021. The college where he was studying says they are still waiting for the results to be sent from the education department. 

He cannot proceed to ABET or matric without these results. What can we do?

The long answer

The Western Cape Education Department website says that for end-of-year-results, you must start off by laying a complaint at the school (Level 1). They say that if you have already complained to teachers without success, you can ask for an appointment with the Principal or Head of the school directly to complain. Only if you are not satisfied with the outcome, can you go on to Level 2, which is to complain to the circuit inspector at the relevant district office. You would need to be able to prove that you had complained to the school without success.

The main district office in your area is in Worcester, but there is a Satellite Office in Paarl.
Tel: 021 860 1200

Street Address:  
6 Hospital Street

If the complaint cannot be resolved at district level, it may be escalated to Level 3, which is the Western Cape Education Dept (WCED) Head Office. They say that some complaints could be resolved on the spot, while others would need to be investigated by WCED officials. Again, you would need to be able to prove that you had complained unsuccessfully at the district level, so you should always note dates and names of the people you speak to.

The WCED says that their officials must do the following: 

  1. Acknowledge receipt of all written complaints and give a time frame for resolving them;

  2. Deal with all complaints in a timely manner as per the timelines laid down in the procedures; (some categories of complaints are dealt with more quickly than others);

  3. Track all complaints;

  4. Monitor time frames for resolving the complaint;

  5. Give complainants reasonable progress reports.

They go to say that:

  1. The official must explain how the complaint will be assessed, e.g. urgency, seriousness, fairness, etc. or a combination of factors;

  2. How the complaint will be investigated;

  3. The basic steps that will be taken, e.g. natural justice (to ensure that both sides of the story are heard);

  4. How outcomes will be recorded;

  5. How privacy and confidentiality will be maintained.

The level of investigation must be consistent with the seriousness and nature of the complaint. This includes:

  1. Offering remedies where appropriate;

  2. Providing the complainant with a progress report (in writing) on a weekly basis (line manager to be copied in on all correspondence); and

  3. After a decision has been made, the complainant should be advised in a written report of the final outcome within five working days. Reasons should be given for the decisions taken.

The WCED gives the following contact details on their website: 

1. SMS the word "Help" – followed by your name, the nature of your complaint, facility and, if applicable, the name of a staff member to 31022. Call: 0860 142 142 and press "1".

2. tel: 0861 819 919


Address: 1 North Wharf Square, 2 Lower Loop Street, Foreshore, Cape Town.


3. If you have to contact the Head of the Education Department, these are the contact details:

Tel: 021 467 9280


PA: Noleen Nefdt

Head of Dept: Brent Walters

Tel: 021 467 2536

If you are not satisfied with the handling or outcome of your complaint, you have the right to appeal to the Provincial Minister of Education.

If you still don’t get the results you need, your last resort would be to complain to the Education Ombudsman. SAFacts says: “The Ombudsman is an independent, impartial public official with authority and responsibility to receive, investigate or informally address complaints about government actions, and, when appropriate, make findings and recommendations.”

They say that you should contact the Call Centre (0800 872 222) and lodge your complaint. Ensure that you take down the call centre agent’s name, leave your contact details and be given a reference number.

You can also submit your complaint to their customer care email address:

They say that they can assist with telephonic queries and/or with logging complaints. Email them at or call 0860 800 900.

Wishing you the best,

Answered on May 24, 2024, 1:06 p.m.

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