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Eastern Cape to leave out 24 000 pupils eligible for scholar transport

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga. Picture: Jason Boud

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga. Picture: Jason Boud

Published Jun 30, 2022


Cape Town - The Eastern Cape will transport only 81% of pupils who are eligible for the scholar transport and leave out about 24 000 in the 2022/23 financial year, a move that will see fewer pupils benefiting from the programme than in the last financial year.

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This emerged in a parliamentary reply from Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga in response to EFF MP Nontando Nolutshungu.

Nolutshungu wrote to Motshekga, saying the provincial department’s assertion was that it would provide scholar transport to only 10 000 pupils out of the eligible 125 000 due to budget constraints.

“What mechanism will her department together with the Department of Transport use to ensure that 115 000 bicycles are delivered within a year?” she asked.

In her response, Motshekga said her department was not aware of assertions made that of the 125 000 pupils eligible for scholar transport in the Eastern Cape, only 10 000 would be accommodated due to budget constraints.

She said information received from the Eastern Cape Department of Transport indicated that there were 111 127 pupils who were eligible for scholar transport for the 2021/22 financial year.

Motshekga said 125 423 pupils were transported, 112% more than the total need, in the last financial year.

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She confirmed that the Eastern Cape would only transport 81% of the eligible pupils in this financial year.

“For the 2022/23 financial year, there are 127 455 learners who are eligible for the learner transport programme and, of these, 102 998 learners are targeted to be transported, which is 81% of the total need.

“This leaves out 24 457, who are in need and qualify for learner transport, due to budget constraints,” Motshekga said.

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The minister said the Shova Kalula National Bicycle Project was an initiative of the national Department of Transport and was introduced as a pilot project in 2001.

The project is an intervention to improve mobility and access to basic needs.

It aims to alleviate transport pressure on poor households and ensure access to public transport and schools.

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“The Department of Basic Education is not fully privy to the project schedule and thus requests the honourable member to redirect the question to the Department of Transport as the custodians of the project,” Motshekga said.

Meanwhile, she said her department was keeping a close eye on the Eastern Cape Education Department’s expenditure after the province failed to spend R250 million.

“The Department of Basic Education has intensified its monitoring activities of the Eastern Cape Department of Education infrastructure programme. Meetings with the provincial team are held twice every month,” she said.

Motshekga said monitoring addressed issues around planning, budgeting, expenditure, procurement and project management.

“These are interrogated and a sample of projects are visited. Based on the findings from these visits, remedial actions are devised with the province and monitored by the Department of Basic Education,” she said.

Cape Times