No funds for transport for children at 116 schools

2013-07-01 00:00

THE KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education is short of R57 million to provide transport for 6 167 pupils in 116 schools, which was meant to be in effect from January this year.

This was reported at the Education Special Portfolio Committee meeting held last Friday.

“Route designs have been finalised by the KZN Transport Department for all 116 schools. The bids could not be advertised because of the non-allocation of funds for additional services. KZN has declared that there are no funds available for additional service,” the department’s senior general manager for institutional development Judy Dlamini said.

There are currently 207 pupils using the department’s transport services on the existing routes. And if the department does not receive funding, they will have to downsize the additional 116 schools and would look at reprioritising for pupils travelling the furthest distance from schools.

Dlamini told the committee that additional funding should be sourced either from national or provincial treasury to address the huge demand on pupil transport services.

“As communities become aware of the transport services provided by government, the probability is that there will be even greater demand for these services.”

She said the issue of funding should be given serious consideration.

Some schools applied for emergency transport, like Manzamhlophe Combined School in Zululand where lions broke loose from a nearby game reserve. Other challenges include overloading of buses, inaccessible roads and non-responsive bids that have been pending since 2011. The demand exceeds supply as well.

The transport is to ensure that pupils access schools more easily, and mostly caters for pupils who reside in rural and under-serviced areas.

Out of its revised 2013/14 budget of R37,009 billion the department had spent R6,564 billion by May.

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