Parents demand transport for Chatty’s kids

2018-02-28 06:01

THE Democratic Alliance (DA) has committed to fighting the battle of the burden of learners travelling long distances to school.

This after the parents in Chatty recently took to the streets and presented a memorandum to the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality (NMBM) after repeated applications for scholar transport to the Eastern Cape Department of Transport fell on deaf ears.

According to parent, Simphiwe Waka, the application for scholar transport was submitted at the beginning of last year and till now there had been no response.

“The right procedures were followed and we honestly thought that there would have been a way forward by now.

“Our area is more than 6km away from schools and it becomes difficult for our children to walk such long distances, which affects their attendance,” Waka said.

He also pointed out the dangers of walking, stating that the children had to cross the Bloemendaal Road to and from school everyday.

“That road is very busy in the mornings and afternoons, so, it is not safe for the children. Just a couple of years ago, two learners were involved in a hit-and-run accident on their way to school and one of the learners died on the scene.”

Waka further added that adverse weather conditions also prevented the learners from attending school due to the fact that on rainy days, the rivers and lakes became too full and the children were unable to cross.

He said as a result of such challenges, some of the children ended up dropping out of school.

The situation has forced many parents to use their limited funds on alternative transport which often proves to be unroadworthy. Private transport operators are not subject to the same scrutiny as transporters contracted by the department and are often found not to be in possession of valid driver’s licenses.

DA shadow MEC for Transport Marshall von Buchenroder said the spate of scholar-related accidents showed that overloading and a general disregard for traffic laws were prevalent among transport operators.

“Sending your children to school should not be a death sentence. I have submitted questions to the MEC for Transport, Weziwe Tikana, enquiring about the transport matter,” Von Buchenroder said.

He said the lack of scholar transport has lasting effects on the future of the learners.

“We believe that in order to access opportunities, scholars need to be able to access their right to education.

We are firmly committed to ensuring learners across the country receive scholar transport so that they are able to focus solely on learning and developing themselves for a better future,” Von Buchenroder added.

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