Gauteng education department spokesman Steve Mabona, MEC Panyaza Lesufi, and HOD Edward Mosuwe during a briefing on readiness for the 2018 academic year. Picture: Lindi Masinga/ANA

Johannesburg - Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi has urged parents of school pupils who have not yet been placed or accepted in schools for this year to visit the department's district offices on January 13 or 14 to help allocate their children to schools.

The parents of about 17 000 pupils had applied on time, but their preferred schools were already full. About 31 000 pupils still needed to be allocated to schools by end of the month, he told journalists in Johannesburg on Sunday.

"The majority of parents did not accept their second and third options. If those are not taken on the 17th [of January], all placements will fall off if they are not accepted.

"If you have not applied in 2017, you must know that there are 31 000 learners that need to be placed before you. We will take your information and update you daily on openings," Lesufi said.

The department also intended take a specific school to court for allowing Afrikaans-speaking pupils to jump the queue over non-Afrikaans-speaking pupils because this was unconstitutional.

It was also possible that newcomers to Gauteng would not find a school for their children due to the high volume of pupils already in the province. A number of schools damaged during the recent storm in parts of the province or in break-ins during the festive season would also not be able to open their doors on time. 

The storm damage was estimated at R40 million and a new school would be opened "because of the pressure". 

"I can confirm that all our schools have texts books, stationary, and furniture. [About] 1.4 million learners will also be fed per day," he said.

On the sexual assault cases in various schools in 2017, Lesufi said a committee had been assigned to manage the cases immediately to assure procecutions.

Head of department Edward Mosuwe rejected suggestions that some teachers would be retrenched, saying the department had 69 000 posts available.

African News Agency/ANA