Parents and pupils did not report bullying because they feared further victimisation.
Bullying is a serious problem for Gauteng schools, but the true scale is not known due to under-reporting, provincial education MEC Barbara Creecy said in Johannesburg on Tuesday.
"The true extent of bullying is not known and will not be known because in most instances we find that learners or their parents do not report the incidents," Creecy said in prepared remarks at a colloquium on the subject in Turffontein.
Creecy said parents and pupils did not report bullying because they feared further victimisation.
Some schools were guilty of not reporting bullying to the provincial department because they believed they could contain the problem or conceal it to maintain their "perfect" record.
Creecy said bullying had resulted in at least two pupils in Gauteng committing suicide. She said few school programmes had been proven to tackle bullying and they were expensive to implement.
"Few evidence-based programmes have proven effective at reducing bullying in some schools and those that have are cost-prohibitive for many schools," Creecy said.
The provincial education department was rolling out its own plans to combat bullying, including at "high-risk" schools, and policy documents for all schools.
Schools were encouraged to review the policy for its effectiveness.
"In this way, we hope the policy will be respected and enforced as the department has adopted a collaborative approach," she said.
The department would also be implementing violence prevention as part of the school curriculum, and providing counselling.
Some schools would get patrollers to provide 24-hour security, security cameras and metal detectors.