by Safiyia Stanfley – DA Provincial Spokesperson on Education in the Northern Cape
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Date: 15 March 2018
The Democratic Alliance calls on the Northern Cape Department of Education to review all contracts for the provision of learner transport in the province to ensure that service providers prioritise the safety of our learners and don’t take the department for a ride.
We are cautiously optimistic about the shift of the learner transport function from the Department of Transport, Safety & Liaison to the Department of Education, as it will hopefully end years of blameshifting and buck passing between the two departments. In previous years, neither department was willing to take responsibility for the function and both blamed the other whenever difficulties arose.
But we do not want the Department of Education to be saddled with service providers who do not provide safe, reliable transport to our learners. Taking over the function gives the department an ideal opportunity to review contracts and terminate contracts with those service providers who do not prioritise the safety of our learners.
A recent police operation conducted in Kimberley, targeting vehicles providing learner transport, again revealed that service providers are often careless and fail to obey the law. Amongst the vehicles stopped were a minibus taxi carrying 38 learners, a Toyota Avanza carrying 13 learners, an Isuzu bakkie carrying 18 learners and a Ford Ecosport carrying 11 learners. We cannot allow service providers to compromise the safety of our learners in this way. Had any of these vehicles been involved in an accident, the consequences would have been unimaginable.
We appreciate the actions from the police and hope that this will also act as a deterrent for those service providers who simply want to make a quick buck at the cost of our learners’ safety.
It is now time for the Department of Education to provide leadership and to manage the learner transport function to the benefit of our learners.
DA Provincial Spokesperson on Education in the Northern Cape
084 919 4157
071 251 5558