The Gauteng education department has "reluctantly" thrown a lifeline to parents of Grade 1 and Grade 8 pupils who were late with their applications for the 2020 school year.
Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi said online registration would be reopened at midnight on Tuesday to give them another chance.
"Tomorrow, we are reluctantly opening for late registration. I am urging parents that before midnight tonight, to accept offers we are giving them because if they don't, someone will take their space," he said.
Lesufi promised that those who applied late would be placed immediately.
The MEC also pointed out that schools that refused to accept more pupils were to blame for problems relating to the department's online registration.
There are 912 primary schools and 374 high schools that have extra space, according to Lesufi.
He added that department officials approached private schools which agreed to take more pupils.
One such school was Curro, which agreed to offer pupils a 30% price reduction.
"Our agreement with Curro is temporary until we have sorted [matters] out. We don't want to have pupils at home when the schools open. In terms of the uniform at Curro, it will be the same. Curro is accepting our children on our behalf.
"We have negotiated a 30% discount. My only worry is I don't know how parents will react because we have not engaged them on time," he said.
Lesufi claimed that some parents had a list of preferred schools.
"We are also receiving people who are coming to Gauteng province," Lesufi said.
"We are experiencing high volume of intakes. We are working on new pupils who will be part of our system. As Gauteng, we are ready, our infrastructure, schools, furniture are ready to welcome our pupils," he said.
About 1060 new teachers have been deployed to various schools. In addition, the department transports 151 000 pupils to and from school and about 1.4 million pupils are expected to benefit from the school feeding programme in 2020.
Lesufi said the number was expected to increase because of the number of people moving to Gauteng for jobs or to place their children in better schools.
Meanwhile, the MEC also announced that the department launched an inquiry to look into the results achieved at independent schools.
He said the schools are subsidised by the government and the government has threatened to hold or cut the subsidy if there is no progress.