|by Ismail Obaray MPL – DA Constituency Head of Central North|
|Date: 17 August 2017|
|Type: Press Statement|
|The DA has made an urgent call on the provincial government to take its head out of the sand and immediately deal with the ongoing learner transport crisis in the Northern Cape.|
At least sixty children from Vosburg, who attend Hoёrskool Theron in Britstown, have been left without transport since Wednesday last week. Many of these learners are matriculants and their inability to attend school is jeopardizing their prospects of passing their final year exams.
It is believed that the contractor, Williams Transport, has not been paid by the Department of Transport, Safety and Liaison for the past three months. This contractor is also said to be responsible for providing learner transport in Keimoes, Kakamas and Prieska but due to non-payment, learner transport in these areas is also believed to have come to an abrupt halt.
According to parents, the Department of Education has simply shrugged its shoulders, squarely blaming the Department of Transport.
The DA previously warned that learner transport in the province was on the brink of collapse after it came to light that the Departments of Transport and Education had failed to iron out a myriad of challenges in the provision of learner transport, not least of all the tariff structure for service providers.
To date, however, learner transport continues to be treated as a ping-pong ball between these departments, whereby no single department wants to accept full responsibility for getting thousands of learners, who are dependent on the state for transport, to school each day.
The DA recently reiterated our call for an urgent joint committee meeting to be held on this matter. We have also previously referred this matter to Premier Sylvia and the National Education Department.
The DA cannot tolerate a situation whereby the education of learners is interrupted due to the incompetency of government departments charged with this important mandate.
From my side, I will write another letter to Premier Sylvia Lucas, asking her to prioritize this intergovernmental matter, and hope that this matter doesn’t fall on deaf ears again.