Polokwane - The South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) in Limpopo has warned of a looming education crisis after dozens of temporary maths and science teachers didn't have their contracts renewed.
The union said the situation had left some pupils without teachers.
The majority of teachers affected were foreigners, mainly from Zimbabwe.
However, the education department said it was in the process of renewing the contracts.
But Sadtu provincial secretary Matome Raphasha said the department was not serious about its mandate.
"We believe that the department is turning its back on one of the avowed principles of saying there should be no learner without a teacher at any school," said Raphasha.
The non-renewal of contracts would likely further contribute to the problem of declining results in gateway subjects.
The province's 2016 matric results declined from a 71% pass rate in 2015 to a 68% pass rate.
Posts vacant since 2015
said the department seemed not to care about effective school management.
He also lambasted the department's attitude on the non-filling of promotional posts and the non-payment of teachers' benefits.
Raphasha said the department's attitude was provocative and that the union would not hesitate to start protests.
"The boardroom has clearly failed to resolve the issue we have raised."
Provincial education department spokesperson Naledzani Rasila told News24 that the process to renew contracts was underway.
However, he added: "Some educators' contracts will not be renewed because of their status with home affairs."
Rasila said a management post would also be filled.
"We are waiting for Treasury to approve the post," he said.
But Raphasha said the department failed to fill posts as far back as 2015, adding that it was a sign of ignorance and an unwillingness to resolve the issue.