KwaZulu-Natal education department officials at circuit and district level along with management staff at a Pinetown school will face the music after failing to address the issue of Grade 1 pupils being without a teacher since May.
Education MEC Kwazi Mshengu said it was revealed to him during a meeting with department management, the school governing board and principal of Shayamoya Primary School that 19 Grade 1 pupils have been without a teacher since May 1, 2019.
Mshengu had convened the meeting to address several challenges faced by the school. He said the revelation bordered on the infringement of pupils' constitutional right to access basic education.
"We wish to extend our deepest apologies to the parents and community for this injustice. We also have been made aware that some of our officials [at school, circuit and district levels] failed to address the matter despite being advised by the concerned parents to fill the vacant post.
"We can confirm that harsh action will be taken against those who dropped the ball," he added in a statement on Sunday.
The MEC said he had directed that the vacant post be filled this week, adding candidates were qualified teachers who were already in the database of unplaced educators.
Mshengu added the department remained committed to providing quality education to the youth of the province and wished to emphasise that the right to education was "sacrosanct and non-negotiable".