No charges yet as omalume continue to transport pupils in bakkies

2017-05-19 14:01
Transport spokesperson Nathi Sukazi admitted that no one in KZN has been charged for transporting pupils in the bakkies.

Transport spokesperson Nathi Sukazi admitted that no one in KZN has been charged for transporting pupils in the bakkies. (File)

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Friday marks as week since law amendments prohibiting school pupils being transported in the back of bakkies came into effect.

However, in Pietermaritzburg it seems many school children are still being transported in the back of bakkies.

The law amendment makes it illegal to transport school children for reward (paying a driver) in the goods compartment of any vehicle.

Despite threats from the Department of Transport that they would enforce the law when it came to effect last week, it appears no one has been fined under this amendment. Instead, bakkie drivers transporting children have been fined for their unroadworthy vehicles and for drunk driving.

The drivers of the bakkies, known as omalume (uncles), have told The Witness their discussions with the Department of Transport to try and find a lasting solution to the scholar transport issue in the province have reached a stalemate.

KZN Scholar Transport Association spokesperson Jabulani Dladla said the negotiations had reached a deadlock, which meant the bakkies would continue to operate.

“This is not a new issue. Government has been saying that they do not want the bakkies for a long time now. Our argument has been simple, if government wants to ban bakkies, then they must help us get cars that will comply with the regulations.

“We have had a series of meetings trying to find common ground but no results [have been forthcoming] yet. We are hoping that in the follow-up meeting, which has not been scheduled yet, we will be able to find each other,” he said.

Dladla said the operations of omalume had not been affected since the new amendments came into effect.

“Before the law came into effect there was talk that there would be police stationed outside schools to enforce the law.

“That did not happen and our operations have been going smoothly,” he said.

Transport spokesperson Nathi Sukazi admitted that no one in KZN has been charged for transporting pupils in the bakkies.

“Since last week there are 39 charges that have been made. There are 27 written notices issued and two bakkies have been suspended. All of these relate to unroadworthy vehicles transporting pupils.

“There were also two arrests of drivers of minibuses caught driving under the influence of alcohol,” he said.

The amendments, which were announced late last year, were made to curb the spate of accidents involving bakkies, which have claimed many lives in the province.

The move was met with disapproval by omalume, who complained the new rules had been poorly communicated.

School governing bodies had also complained that the process had been co-ordinated poorly.


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