Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi has reprimanded the principal and senior management officials at a primary school in Diepsloot, north of Johannesburg, for only alerting him of cases of alleged sexual misconduct after he received enquiries from the media.
During an interview with News24 in Auckland Park on Thursday, Lesufi said the school was most recently made aware of an incident of sexual misconduct in October.
"These children are under their care and the last incident was picked up in October, and the school didn't even notify us. The school only notified and provided us with reports when we received media [enquiries]," Lesufi said.
This comes after it had emerged that a pensioner, who lived near the school, had allegedly sexually assaulted a number of pupils.
"It is quite clear that the principal's hands are full and they (senior management) forget to take important issues seriously."
Police have opened an investigation into the matter, Lesufi said.
According to Lesufi's spokesperson Steve Mabona, the man would allegedly lure the kids with cash and then take them to his home.
It was unclear whether any physical assault had actually taken place or whether the pupils were still being groomed, Mabona explained.
There was also an allegation that he had showed them pornography, and this would be investigated by the police, he said.
Lesufi described the incidents as "sad" and "worrying" and said they should not be taken lightly. He said the pupils had been warned not to interact with him anymore.
The department was currently in the process of conducting interviews and interacting with pupils - including those who might have been affected.
"We have also convened a parents' meeting over the weekend," he added.
The department was also expected to meet with the all the principals in Ekurhuleni at 14:00 on Thursday, followed by a meeting at 18:00 with the school governing bodies to appoint one teacher at each school who would be dedicated to dealing with sexual assault issues.
In October, a security guard was arrested and charged with three counts of rape and five counts of sexual assault after he was accused of allegedly sexually assaulting at least 87 school girls at a primary school in Soweto, Johannesburg.
He is currently in police custody awaiting his next court appearance on November 30.