Pupils may not pay to use bakkies

The Witness - Wheels - - FRONT PAGE -

WHILE de­liv­er­ing his bud­get speech, MEC for Trans­port in KZN Mx­olisi Kaunda said the depart­ment for trans­port and the Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion (DOE) has bud­geted R195,3 mil­lion to trans­port pupils by bus.

He warned this bud­get was still not enough to meet the dire need for a pupil bus ser­vice across the province, but said it did as­sist 47 700 pupils to at­tend 315 schools in KZN.

Kaunda said his depart­ment has started the process to hand over the ad­min­is­tra­tion of the pro­vin­cial pupil trans­port to the Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion.

“Work­ing to­gether with DOE and Trea­sury, we will seek ways to im­prove ac­cess by es­pe­cially the most needy learn­ers, in more than 3 000 schools that travel in ex­cess of three kilo­me­tres to school.

He said 3 000 bi­cy­cles will also be dis­trib­uted to learn­ers this year, adding to the ex­ist­ing net­work of ap­prox­i­mately 10 000 bi­cy­cles al­ready used by learn­ers who cy­cle to school daily.

Kaunda said he was en­cour­aged by the amend­ment in the Na­tional Land Trans­port Act, ef­fec­tive from May, that out­laws trans­porta­tion of per­sons in bakkies for re­ward. But he tac­itly ad­mit­ted that the “for re­ward” qual­i­fi­ca­tion in the act still made it pos­si­ble for bakkie driv­ers to trans­port pupils when he asked par­ents and guardians to en­sure their chil­dren are trans­ported in road­wor­thy and le­gal “trans­port modes”.

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