Buses for pupils suspended after state fails to pay R400m

2014-10-16 15:34

Mpumalanga’s scholar transport association has suspended its operations and will not be ferrying pupils to schools because the education department allegedly owes it R400 million.

“We suspended operations. We put our buses in the depot and we are staying at home. But I want to make it clear that we are not on strike and we are not associated with any demonstration,” the association’s spokesperson Koos Nkosi said today.

“We can’t afford to send our buses for services, we can’t pay for fuel and we can’t pay our staff.”

He said the department owed it R400 million, which had escalated since 2006.

The association consisted of about 400 bus owners, each owning a varying number of buses, and each bus transporting 65 pupils to school.

Nkosi said the suspension of operations affected thousands of school pupils across the province.

“They [the department] have always been showering us with promises. We were told that the money was budgeted for to pay the debt, but we are left in the dark as to why we are not paid,” he said.

A meeting was held on September 9 with department officials and Nkosi was told they were waiting for a report from the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) before payment could be made.

“They verified the amount and the reasons they gave to us in the last meeting was that they are waiting for a report from the SIU after a commission was set up to deal with alleged corruption in the department of education.”

He said the commission was established in 2012 by the previous premier to deal with corruption.

The association suspended its operations at the end of September.

Provincial education department spokesperson Jasper Zwane referred queries to David Nkambule, spokesperson for the public works and transport department.

Repeated attempts to reach Nkambule were unsuccessful.

Democratic Alliance MPL Anthony Benadie said the DA was disturbed by the reports and called on the department of education and provincial treasury to intervene immediately and settle the debt.

“Schoolchildren cannot and must not miss a single day of learning in the run-up to the Grade 12 examinations, and all buses must get back on the road as a matter of urgency,” he said.

“No learner should be disadvantaged due to the department’s inability to manage their affairs, especially at this critical time of the academic year.”

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.