Service providers of scholar transport have been given the assurance that they will be paid outstanding monies thanks to an intervention by the Democratic Alliance. Such service providers can now also apply for letters from their district offices of education to financial institutions outlining why they cannot honour their commitments.

Scholar transport has been suspended by the Department of Education due to financial constraints.

The department, through the Superintendent-General, Modidima Mannya, gave me an undertaking on 15 March 2011 that all outstanding monies owed to service providers, supported by documentary proof, would be paid during the month of April 2011.

I also requested the SG to provide the service providers whose contracts have been temporary suspended with a letter that they can produce to their bank outlining why they cannot honour their commitments.

These service providers, who are totally dependent on the contracts with the department, have not been able to pay the monthly instalments on their vehicles since January 2011 and they fear that their vehicles might be repossessed. The SG has agreed in principle to instruct District offices to comply if such requests are made.

Some service providers claim payments are outstanding dating back as far as November 2007.

Service providers in the Uitenhage District whom I met on Tuesday (subs: 15 March) said they were only informed verbally that their services were no longer needed from 24 January.

These service providers were contracted to transport learners until the end of March 2011, upon which their contracts would be reviewed for possible renewal. They have complied with their contractual obligations and should therefore be remunerated for services delivered in 2011 until their contracts were verbally suspended.

It is only fair that the Department does not renege on its contractual responsibilities, because these service providers have provided a service as stipulated in their contracts. Outstanding money must be paid without delay.