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Free State Learners stranded at home as transport services come to halt: DA

Jan 23, 2018
Free State Learners stranded at home as transport services come to halt: DA

The Democratic Alliance (DA) on Tuesday said that it has received several complaints from parents and staff at schools that the learner transport services in the Free State have come to a halt due to the non-payment of contractors by the Provincial Department of Police, Roads and Transport for services rendered since September last year.

"It is reported that approximately 10 000 Free State learners are affected and now spend their days at home instead of getting an education. Many of these learners come from poor families who are unable to afford safe transportation to and from school on a daily basis," said Mariette Pittaway, a DA Member of the Free State Legislkature.

"This again shows that the poor governance that has become synonymous with the ANC has a direct negative impact on peoples’ lives, especially the poor."

Pittaway said that the function of learner transport was transferred from the Provincial Department of Education to the Department of Police, Roads and Transport two years ago in order to improve the services offered.

"The Department of Education is currently under provincial administration following several years of poor financial management which negatively impacted on learner support services.

"The DA cannot allow that learners are denied their right to basic education and as such I have today written to Police Roads and Transport MEC, Sam Mashinini, as well as Education MEC Tate Makgoe, urging them to resolve the crisis immediately," she added.

"The ANC in government has failed several generations of South Africans by providing them with substandard education, now they can’t even ensure that learners in far-flung areas attend school.

"If we are serious about building a knowledge-based economy, we will have to fix the problems within basic education, so that we can capacitate future generations with the knowledge and skills required."

Pittaway said that the DA has already begun implementing policies to improve basic education with remarkable results.