75% of scholar transport deaths since 2013 occurred in the last year
Out of all scholar transport deaths recorded since 2013, 75% happened in the last year, while the same period accounted for 25% of injuries since 2013. This appalling information was revealed in a reply to a DA question in Parliament.
The fact that the majority of scholar transport deaths since 2013 happened in the last 11 months despite the DA consistently raising the issue of scholar transport over many years is the result of the ANC government’s failure to ensure safe transport for learners.
The government has developed a detailed National Scholar Transport plan, but the fact that 39 children were killed and 71 were injured since April 2017 is proof that there has still been no improvement in safety.
Thousands of children still walk long distances to school or are transported in unsafe vehicles. Yet provincial departments continue to waste vast amounts of their budget, mismanage scholar transport applications and allocate little money to schools. This undermines the constitutional right to a basic education that should be afforded to all South African children.
I will be visiting schools around the country to highlight school transport issues. I have already been to the Free State and KwaZulu-Natal, and will continue to fight for safe, reliable transport for our learners.
The ANC government needs to get serious about monitoring and oversight of school transport. Basic Education Minister, Angie Motshekga, cannot continue to simply pass this off as a provincial problem. Dysfunctional provinces must be taken to task for failing to secure the safety of our children who simply want a better future.
Statement issued by Nomsa Marchesi MP, DA Shadow Deputy Minister of Basic Education, 2 March 2018