In recent weeks, People’s Post received a complaint from a concerned citizen about people who overload their privately-owned cars when transporting learners.According to the complainant, the situation is so bad that in some cars, one could see about five children crammed up in the front seat. Bronagh Hammond, spokesperson for the Western Cape Education Department’s (WCED), said the department does not handle privately-owned transport businesses. “We cannot afford to compromise on learner safety therefore, we urge parents to ensure that their children are transported in a safe environment,” she said.She, however, said that the department partners with businesses to transport learners to and from school. “The department transports 59 853 learners daily on our transport system which covers 567 routes.” She said district offices work with schools to identify transport requirements and qualifying learners. “Districts put requests for transport to the WCED’s head office. The department advertises tenders for contracts to provide the transport – it is on the government tender, but the WCED approves the contracts following tender processes,” she explained. Like any other tender, Hammond said that contractors have to meet the set requirements and if successful, a five year tender is awarded.“The contractor must ensure that the approved bus used on the approved route is in proper working condition, roadworthy, availability and will be used to fulfill the contractor’s obligations in terms of the service level agreement” she said.Although traffic regulations require transport suppliers to renew roadworthy certificates every year, the department requires contractors to provide new roadworthy certificates every six months if their cars are larger than a 16-seater. Hammond said that parents whose children use private vehicles must report any unroadworthy vehicle or those that overload learners to traffic authorities.