The Democratic Alliance in the Eastern Cape Provincial Legislature has asked for the Premier, Noxolo Kiviet, to immediately intervene in the scholar transport strike issue.

I have today phoned the Premier about the matter and written to her asking to investigate and request a forensic audit into the affairs of the Eastern Cape Bus and Taxi Business Chamber.

This chamber is responsible for paying the transport operators.

It is of concern that when I phoned her, she was unaware of the strike.

This crisis is our biggest threat to the stability of this province.

Not having transport to school affects students’ school attendance and their long term academic record and the future prospects of finding dignified employment.

Small independent transport operators (often one man bands) contracted by the chamber are threatened with going out of business because they cannot earn money by not being paid.

Furthermore, by not being paid regularly, these operators could have their vehicles impounded by the finance banks because of their defaulting on payments leaving them with no transport to ferry children to school.

It is worrying that so early in the contract between the Department of Transport and the Eastern Cape Bus and Taxi Chamber that already “money problems” are retarding service delivery to some of our most vulnerable in society, our children.

It is hoped that the Premier will act swiftly and decisively today in this matter and that the school transport and payment to transport operators is restored with immediate effect.