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Johannesburg - Over 700 children are on the waiting list to be placed in special schools in Gauteng.

Some of these children are currently at home not receiving any education while others are attending ordinary public school that  don't cater for their special needs.

Democratic Alliance's Gauteng Shadow MEC for Education Khume Ramulifho sad it was worrying that there were 730 learners waiting to be placed while there is a special school which is not being filled to its capacity. 

“It is unacceptable learners are on the waiting list to attend special school while Nokuthula Special School in Lyndhurst, Johannesburg is not filled to its capacity. 

"These learners are now denied access to basic education because of the incompetence of the Gauteng Department of Education,” Ramulifho said. 

In the written responses to Ramulifho, Gauteng MEC for Education Panyaza Lesufi said the waiting period for learners could be between a month or more.

He said the waiting period was influenced by accessibility to the school that matches the specific curriculum and support needed by the learner as well as the availability of space. 

He added that another issue influencing the waiting time was the choice of the parents and the requirement for residential schooling. 

“It is important to note that once a learner is placed on a waiting list at a special school, the District Based Support Team and School Based Support Team collectively support the learner,” Lesufi said. 

He added that 47 learners on the waiting list were currently out of school and said their admission was of higher priority to the department.

He said the majority of those learners come from Johannesburg South region and have severe intellectual disabilities. They were also currently not within the compulsory school going age, he said. 

Lesufi said prioritising such admission may include admitting the learners at ordinary public schools as a temporary measure.