Durban — Overloads and misconduct by drivers such as sexual abuse on pupils, were among the topics discussed during the South African National Taxi Council’s (Santaco) first conference to professionalise the school transport system.
The conference was held in Pietermaritzburg on Thursday.
The council invited different sectors of the government from the departments of Education; Transport, Community Safety and Liaison; and Social Development.
Chief education specialist from the Department of Education, Sibusiso Mpethwana, condemned the reports of unprofessional behaviour and of drivers sexually abusing pupils.
“Scholars spend a fair amount of time with drivers while commuting to school therefore there should be an extension of professionalism that drivers display that match that of a school. Drivers should be presentable in their clothing. They should also be mindful of their language and topics when speaking in front of scholars. Making sexual advances is unacceptable,” Mpethwana said.
Provincial manager for Santaco, Sifiso Shangase, said that the purpose of the conference was to align the council with the spheres that they engaged with on a daily basis, by serving and saving the lives of the pupils.
“We want to be professional in our work, that is why we will also go for training and have more meetings such as this one to discuss issues and come up with solutions,” he said.
Director of Support and Regulation from the Department of Transport, Nonhlanhla Hlophe, said that there should be uniformity in the way drivers ran their business, from the money they charged to involvement with school governing bodies.
Buyisiwe Sophazi, from the Department of Social Development, said that she wanted to facilitate more programmes with the council on how to protect pupils and bring back the true meaning of umalume and malumekazi as the drivers are often affectionately called by the children.
“I am glad that we have an organised structure such as this one because there is no successful structure that works alone,” she said.
WhatsApp your views on this story to 071 485 7995.