Scholar transport a ‘no-show’ for pupils

2017-11-09 06:00

ALMOST two months have passed since the KZN Democratic Alliance and the DA Shadow Minister of Education, Nomsa Marchesi, walked to school with pupils on the South Coast and subsequently alerted KZN authorities to their plight.

Despite this, government has done very little to remedy the situation. The purpose of the walk was to highlight the unacceptable lack of transport for pupils at Ukuthula High near Highflats, where they walk almost 20km to school and back home each day.

To add to thi, they must also cross the often dangerous Mpambanyoni River when making the journey.

These pupils walk in all weather, often reaching school too tired to learn. Their safety is also placed at risk, particularly during the winter months when they have to walk in the dark.

Following the solidarity walk, the DA requested that both KZN’s education and transport departments urgently intervene. To date nothing has been done.

Last week, the DA received an update from the school, which includes a photo of pupils crossing the river. Due to the recent rains, the situation has become worse making it even more difficult for them to cross to get to school.

The DA is also aware of a similar situation in the Nqabeni community near Izingolweni, where pupils are forced to cross the Umzimkhulwana River since it has no bridge of any kind. We have also brought this matter to the attention of the transport MEC, Mxolisi Kaunda.

The lack of action on behalf of this community is a damning indictment against the ANC-led provincial government.

It is symptomatic of a leadership that does not care about the lives of this community and rather more interested in its own succession battles.

KZN’s provincial government has been promising safe and reliable “scholar transport” for years, yet it continues to fail pupils of Ukuthula and thousands of others. Today there remains 42 253 pupils that desperately need scholar transport.

Pupil transport in KZN has at last been allocated to the Department of Education with a proposed budget of R206 million.

This is only half the funding required to cater to the immense need in KwaZulu-Natal. The DA, along with other portfolio committee members, has demanded a full business plan from the DoE as to how it plans to roll out this programme.

The DA is firmly committed to ensuring that these pupils receive scholar transport so that they are able to focus solely on learning and developing themselves, to ensure they can have a better future. The DA will continue to fight for the pupils of Ukuthula High to have reliable transport.

DR RISHIGEN VIRANNA, MPL,

DA KZN Spokesperson on Education

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