MORE CHECKS NEEDED FOR SCHOLAR TRANSPORT

IF THERE was sufficient and sustained law enforcement of school taxis and buses – checks on the validity of driving permits, vehicle roadworthiness and ongoing testing of drivers – the latest accident could have been avoided (“MEC calls for stricter controls”, Daily Dispatch, May 30).

It is easy for MEC Thandiswa Marawu to express shock and dismay at the appalling tragedy. However, such accidents happen with increasing frequency in this province, costing promising young lives.

Ongoing checking of drivers and school transport should be undertaken on a daily, random basis throughout the province, with serious and immediate consequences for any vehicle and driver found to have breached any part of the operator’s contract.

The provincial department of transport must have the right to withdraw the contract at any stage should an accident be caused through the negligence of an operator or driver.

What is of concern is that the contracts entered into between the department and operators are weakly worded.

The MEC has admitted that it is not a requirement for the current operating company to have comprehensive insurance. The mind boggles!

I will insist that before the new scholar transport contract is awarded in July that the portfolio committee on transport ensures that the new operator is tied to an onerous contract to ensure the highest standards of safety for our children. — Dacre Haddon, DA MPL, Bhisho