Justice Clive Plasket from the Grahamstown High Court on Friday ordered the department to permanently appoint teachers to all the available posts by November 2 2012.
The Mail & Guardian reported in June tens of thousands of teaching posts in the Eastern Cape had been left vacant.
Non-profit organisation, the Legal Resources Centre, which took the department to court over the posts and represented school governing bodies and schools from the Eastern Cape, welcomed the ruling.
"This judgment deals decisively with the responsibilities of the minister of basic edducation [Angie Motshekga] … and provincial minister [Mandla Makupula] in terms of their obligations to declare and implement educator and non-educator post establishments. That the DBE has not done so is in flagrant breach of their constitutional obligations," said regional director of the LRC Sarah Sephton.
The judge added the department must appoint educators to all vacant posts on a temporary basis by September 2 2012 pending permanent appointments.
The department was also told that by August 17 it must have paid the salaries of all educators whose appointments had been approved on a temporary basis.
"The decision to order the DBE to appoint temporary educators and to pay temporary educators who have taught in vacant substantive posts for the entire year in some cases without payment or with the SGBs of better off schools funding these posts will be a huge relief to SGBs, teachers and learners throughout the province," Sephton said.