Learners deprived of Scholar Transport will have a voice in EC Legislature today

Learners deprived of Scholar Transport will have a voice in EC Legislature today

We welcome that the provincial government has buckled under pressure from scholars, the community and the Democratic Alliance regarding the scholar transport issue.

The voices of 40,000 vulnerable learners without scholar transport will be heard in the Provincial Legislature today, Wednesday, 7 February, where a special debate on scholar transport will occur.

The debate follows the request by the Democratic Alliance’s Shadow MEC of Transport, Marshall von Buchenroder MPL, to the Speaker, Helen Sauls-August, to have the issue of scholar transport placed on the agenda as a matter of public importance.

The DA will not abandon the learners of this province on the side of the road or sit back while they are forced to cross dangerous rivers to get to school. We will continue to pressure the provincial government to ensure they follow through on their commitments to make additional funding available.

We have been highlighting the plight of learners reliant on scholar transport for years and have repeatedly called for the programme to be better managed, better funded and better resourced.

Last year, when the budget was tabled, we cautioned the Roads and Transport MEC and Provincial Treasury that the budget was hopelessly insufficient to provide the transport needed.

We are hopeful that, following the debates, an adjustment budget will be tabled at the earliest possible convenience to affect the necessary transfers from other departments to the Scholar Transport Programme, to ensure that learners are transported between now and April.

We are determined to fight for the rights of learners to have a decent education, which is key to climbing the opportunity ladder. The alternative of growing up without an education and being trapped in a never-ending cycle of poverty is too harsh a reality to bear.