Transporting pupils ‘just too much for dept’

2016-03-23 10:54
Willies Mchunu

Willies Mchunu

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Pietermaritzburg - The issue of pupil transport “is just too much” for Transport MEC Willies Mchunu.

A dejected Mchunu questioned whether the department has the capacity to carry on with the programme.

While answering questions from finance portfolio committee members yesterday at the legislature, Mchunu said the programme needed to be “thoroughly” researched.

“If there is one decision that we took that at some stage will have serious implications, it is the issue of pupil transport.

“It is not unlike the decision to pay izinduna stipends. It is so full of problems that you do not know where to start and where to finish.

“The issue of pupil transport, in a province as big as KZN with such big rural areas, needs a budgeting strategy of its own,” he said.

Mchunu said the demand for pupil transport “far exceeded” the department’s capacity.

The department revealed that it would need R4,5 billion, almost half of the department’s budget, if it were to fund all the pupils in the province who travel more than six kilometres to and from from their nearest school.

Currently the department has budgeted R186 million for the programme, which will provide the service to 316 schools and 43 990 pupils.

“What we pay for pupil transport is just beyond what we have. The chunk of the money is just hell of a too much.

“I am not being unsympathetic to the issue, I am just saying capacity-wise, are we able to carry it through?” he said.

Committee member Sibusiso Gcabashe said it was concerning that there was a roll-over of about R10 million in the programme during the 2014/15 financial year.

“Continuous rollovers are a worrisome when done by people meant to be doing service delivery,” he said.

• sabelo.nsele@witness.co.za

Read more on:    willies mchunu  |  pietermaritzburg  |  pupils  |  transport  |  school

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