Scholar Transport shutdown could have been avoided if Mabuyane kept his promises

Scholar Transport shutdown could have been avoided if Mabuyane kept his promises

The shutdown this morning by taxi operators due to non-payment for scholar transport operations could have been avoided entirely had Premier Oscar Mabuyane kept his promises.

Earlier this year, the premier promised that an additional R90 million would be made available to cover outstanding payments to operators that had not been paid since November last year.

This followed after the premier was forced to publicly admit that the scholar transport programme had left in excess of 40,000 learners on the side of the road with no way of getting to school.

In his State of the Province address, he promised that his government was aware of the problems within the programme and was working to address them.

It is clear from today’s actions by operators that the Premier lied and that the rot within the Scholar Transport Programme is nowhere near to being resolved. His failure to keep his word has resulted in a provincial-wide shutdown of routes, schools being shut down, and hundreds of thousands of learners.

This whole debacle clearly illustrates the ANC’s lack of vision of the importance of education as an enabler of preparing young people for the job market.

Several investigations, including a review by the Public Service Commission and an audit by the Provincial Treasury, have been launched into the programme in recent years, and yet none of the findings has been made public.

The DA has requested the findings of these reports be made available to the Transport Portfolio Committee as a matter of urgency.

This province needs a new government that follows through on its commitments and operates transparently, prioritising the needs of its citizens above political agendas. Only with accountable leadership can we hope to rebuild trust and ensure the proper functioning of essential services.

We plan to rescue the Eastern Cape from maladministration and poor governance, and we will continue to fight for learners across this province to give them a fighting chance for a better future.