Gauteng Department of Education spokesperson Steve Mabona, MEC Panyaza Lesufi and HOD Edward Mosuwe during a briefing on readiness for the 2018 academic year.

Johannesburg - The Gauteng province's education department has placed only 2,565 new learners in schools for the 2018 academic year out of 32,935 applicants, provincial head Panyaza Lesufi said on Tuesday.

"Notwithstanding our efforts to get all parents to apply on time so that we can improve on our planning processes, a total of 4500 new applications have been received since Saturday," Lesufi said, adding that the system was under siege.

"The number is expected to increase as parents are continuing to visit admission centres." 

All department employees had been called in to help try and finalise applications by the end of February, he said.

Lesufi however said everything was in place for classes to resume for Grades 2 to 7, as those learners were already in the system from last year.

The education department head said he would be meeting with the parents of 55 English speaking learners on Tuesday to discuss their options after the high court in Pretoria ruled against them registering at the Afrikaans-only Hoerskool Overvaal.

"We are indeed disappointed by the judgement," he said.

The department was also bracing for challenges at Northridge School in Pretoria which had been rocked by allegations of corruption and Bryneven School in Johannesburg, which parents had threatened to shut down over a dispute on its running.

African News Agency/ANA