Protests over learners’ safety disrupt scholar transport operations

Protests over scholar transport in Mthatha, Eastern Cape, have severely disrupted education.

The community disrupted the regular school transportation schedule, arguing that learners are no longer safe because they are constantly being molested and robbed.

Bishop Yolelo, the chairperson of the South African National Taxi Corporation (Santaco) in the Eastern Cape, stated that they were aware that irate residents were blocking the route between Mthatha and Ugie at Mpafane.

He said Santaco in the Eastern Cape is worried about the protests, which have caused learners to miss a few days of class over concerns about learners being subjected to sexual violence. 

“The said parents are worried that their children have been subjected to rape and robberies while in transit in some vehicles,” said Yolelo.

“Parents also feel that the selection of which children use which transport has not been fair.”

He stated that a lack of transportation should not restrict children’s access to education and that Santaco was ready to deal with any issues that arose.

A grade 6 learner dies

Meanwhile, a Gauteng student from Pretoria’s Modiselle Primary School in Ga-Rankuwa tragically died in a scholar transport.

The tragic incident, according to Gauteng education MEC Matome Chiloane, occurred on Thursday afternoon while learners were being driven home from school.

A grade 6 learner is said to have fallen off a moving vehicle, getting crushed by the back wheels and dying instantly.

The psychosocial support team from the provincial department of education responded quickly to the situation and paid the learner’s family a visit as well.

“Indeed, this is terribly saddening news. Scholar transport is an initiative that forms part of our critical interventions to alleviate pressure from parents,” said Chiloane.

“As such, we expected our learners to be safely transported from home to school and back home.

“We call upon drivers to be extra vigilant for learner’s safety. We wish to convey our deepest condolences to the family and the school community.”

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