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DA calls on Premier to move scholar transport back to Education Dept

Jan 21, 2020
DA calls on Premier to move scholar transport back to Education Dept

East London - The Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Eastern Cape on Tuesday said that it believes in the right of children to quality education, so that they can be uplifted and empowered for a better tomorrow.

"By failing to provide scholar transport to these learners, the Department of Transport is depriving these children of their rights.

"This crisis in scholar transport demands a new approach with new solutions. In order for our learners’ rights to be realised, the scholar transport programme must be returned to the Department of Education," said Marshall von Buchenroder (MPL), DA Eastern Cape Shadow MEC for Transport.

"I have therefore written to the Office of the Premier, requesting that Premier Oscar Mabuyane consider returning the programme back to the Education Department in the 2020/2021 financial year."

"We are the only province in the country where the programme is not managed by the Education Department."

Von Buchenroder added that learners from Ententeni, Orange Grove and Bhongweni were left stranded as their scholar transport did not arrive to take them to their various schools.

"Learners as young as five had to walk vast distances to make sure they attended their first day, while others opted to rather return home.

"At one pickup point in Bombweni village, first-time pupils stood waiting for transport which never arrived," he described.

"I have also tabled parliamentary questions to MEC Weziwe Tikana, to give a full report on the dismal implementation of scholar transport at the start of the new school year.

"It has become abundantly clear that moving this function from the Department of Education has been an outright failure. There is no value for money, and, even if stricter control of the purse strings was exercised, there is simply not enough budgeted to meet the transport needs of learners in the province."

Von Buchenroder further said that the Education Department is best placed to know the needs of their learners, to identify those affected by rationalisation of schools, for example, that will subsequently need transport to a school further away.

"They can also monitor the needs of learners directly, identify new routes and engage with its service providers.

"We also need to investigate technological advances that could assist in the roll out and monitoring of scholar transport. A mobile app that allows parents of learners to register their children for transport, and which notifies them when their child has been collected and dropped off safely," he stated.

"The lack of scholar transport has lasting effects on the future of our learners. The DA will continue to fight this battle until the burden of travelling long distances to school is resolved."

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