KZN authorities intervene after photos of kids crossing rivers to get to school go viral

2020-01-29 21:03
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The Department of Education in KwaZulu-Natal will require at least R1bn to provide adequate transportation for all pupils, especially those in rural areas.

The announcement from the department comes after photos of pupils crossing rivers to get to school went viral on social media.

"The shortage of funds renders the department unable to provide scholar transport to all deserving learners across the length and breadth of our province. With the available funding, the department is only able to provide scholar transport to 58 908 learners," said the department in a statement released by spokesperson Kwazi Mthethwa.

He said the department currently gets a R218m grant from the national Department of Basic Education.

"We, however, continue to engage both National Treasury and Provincial Treasury with the aim of securing more funds to expand the service to more needy learners who are currently not benefitting [from it]."

'Transportation challenges'

After photos of pupils crossing rivers to get to school went viral, Education MEC Kwazi Mshengu intervened in the uMzinyathi district where 53 pupils from two schools – Mbizimbelwe Primary and Phathizwe High School – had transportation challenges.

"The department has made provision for scholar transport to be provided to these learners," said Mthethwa.

He said 93 pupils from two schools in the uMgungundlovu district were also identified. Here, 35 pupils from Mphelandaba High School would be accommodated at Matatane High School, while 58 pupils from Khamanzi Primary School would attend Dalton Primary School.

"The funding for these interventions will be sourced from the re-prioritisation process, which means there are initial projects that the department had committed to do, which will now no longer be fulfilled," said Mthethwa.

He added: "It was the considered view of the MEC that resolving these cases is a top priority in order to avoid any possible fatalities."

Mthethwa said a task team was formed to audit the entire province for similar cases and would be reporting to the Head of Department on a weekly basis.

Read more on:    education  |  government spending
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