The Democratic Alliance (DA) in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) welcomes the announcement by the provincial cabinet that the learner transport for the province has been approved.
According to a statement released on Thursday the policy will ensure that the province’s learners, including those with special needs, will be catered for.
This policy has been years in the making and while the DA is pleased that there finally is some progress, it remains to be seen how soon this critical programme will actually be implemented.
It is the DA’s view that as much as there is now a policy in place, the Department of Transport (DoT) must adhere to the regulations to ensure that every child in need of transport is not denied that right.
Unfortunately, as it stands the Department has, year in and year out, been unable to increase the number of new scholars that have access to this critical programme. This due to budget constraints.
Last year, in a push to motivate the KZN Department of Transport (DoT) to establish and finalise a policy, the DA submitted a draft document containing key suggestions aimed at ensuring that every child in our province has access to learner transport and ultimately the opportunity to receive a basic education.
We believe that the system of operation, particularly the manner in which this transport is managed, requires a complete overhaul in order to open up the market for more private transport businesses to also contribute and be given the opportunity to provide decent, safe transport to our children.
The provincial cabinet has stated that the new policy addresses a number of issues which had previously not been sufficiently dealt with in the earlier version of the policy.
The DA will be unpacking this document in more detail during the days ahead to ensure that this is the case. We will also be looking to see whether our many recommendations have been incorporated.
Above all, the DoT must now fast-track the implementation of this programme. KZN’s learners can no longer be left to fend for themselves when it comes to getting to and from school safely.