According to the Provincial Democratic Alliance (DA) leader, Andrew Louw, transport providers in Kakamas have not been paid by the Department of Education which led to learners not being able to attend school.
Louw alleges that nearly 2 200 learners relying on 40 busses in and around the Kakamas area in all grades, have been affected since the start of the new school term. “These same pupils, including a number of matriculants, already missed close to four weeks of schooling in the first term due to a similar scenario,” Louw commented. He indicated that “it is becoming a trend for the Education department to not pay service providers who are contracted to transport learners. Furthermore, there has been no change in the tariff structure for the past five years, despite these drivers having been promised an increase by the failing ANC government.” The DA has called on the MEC of Education, Martha Bartlett, to urgently see to it that the transport providers are urgently paid for services rendered.
The Northern Cape Education Department confirmed that certain learner transport routes in ZF Mgcawu district have been affected. According to the department’s spokesperson, Geoffrey Van Der Merwe, only 7 routes out of 44 routes have been impacted. Van der Merwe told Solomon Star that the department informed the operators that payment will be made on 12 April 2019.
“This is a deliberate attempt by the DA to mislead the public on the status quo of learner transport in the province. We are continuing to engage learner transport operators to ensure that we provide a safe and reliable service for deserving learners to and from school” Van Der Merwe stated.