Cape Town – Hackers gained access to the Basic Education Department’s website on Wednesday evening, posting gory photos and a message addressed "to the government, the American people and the rest of the world".
Spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga said they distanced themselves from the brutal images of decapitated corpses, which included children.
He said the images incited hatred and violence.
The message posted by the hackers, 'Team System DZ', read: "Is this the humanity that you claim, or is life irrelevant to Muslims? Do not imagine that these actions against Muslims will pass you and we will forget what you did to the Arab and Muslim peoples all over the world. I love Islamic State".
The department said it had immediately taken steps to have the images removed from the site and to investigate how the site had been hacked.
"In this regard, we have contacted State Information and Technology Agency that is responsible for the security system to deal with the hacking as a matter of urgency."
The department condemned the hack in the strongest terms.
When News24 visited the site on Wednesday night, it was down.
Mhlanga asked the public to be patient while they worked on the website.