Kids left stranded in transport crisis

The service provider said he had not been paid since February

NOWHERE TO GO: A number of pupils from Embekweni Primary School are left stranded following transport problems that left parents angry at the department of transport.
NOWHERE TO GO: A number of pupils from Embekweni Primary School are left stranded following transport problems that left parents angry at the department of transport.
Image: Michael Pinyana

Pupils from Embekweni Primary School outside Mdantsane have been left stranded after their scholar transport failed to fetch them since Monday.

Parents of children at the school said that the minibus contracted to ferry pupils since February was no longer coming to fetch them. They also claimed that the children have been battling with scholar transport throughout the year since their children were moved from Nxamkwana Primary to Embekweni at the beginning of the year.

When the Dispatch visited the area on Wednesday, pupils were seen standing idly on the side of the road while parents carried placards seeking assistance from the department of transport officials.

A parent was heard saying: “This is what we get for relying on the government. Our children are now sitting and doing nothing while their peers are progressing with their studies.”

The school’s principal, Pakamile Tyindyi said the impasse started in February this year when the department of transport failed to pay the bus driver. “The service provider said he had not been paid since February and I got a call when schools reopened this week that the pupils cannot make it to school because the service provider stopped fetching them.”

The service provider said he had not been paid since February and I got a call when schools reopened this week that the pupils cannot make it to school because the service provider stopped fetching them.”

As a result, some pupils as young as seven walked the 12km road to school, while some hitch-hiked. “There are 52 children affected by this. Some managed to go to school and we think they asked for rides or used taxis that come to the area every hour.”

 

Tyindyi said he had reported the matter to the department of transport a number of times. “I have been pushed from pillar to post since February, but there is no response.”

Parent Andisiwe Khohlwa said: “The transport has not been paid and it’s been three days.”

Numerous attempts to get comment from the bus driver were futile.

The transport department had not commented at the time of going to press.

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