New scholar transport policy given a rough ride
The long-awaited policy was gazetted for public comment by the department in April.
Equal Education, which has been at the forefront in the fight for pupils to be provided with scholar transport, said it had scrutinised the policy and had been underwhelmed and concerned with what is in the policy.
Zanele Modise, Equal Education’s head of national organising, said the policy was deeply disappointing.
She said that for years they had campaigned for the adequate provision of scholar transport to all pupils who have to walk far distances in KZN, and a proper policy that would ensure the provision of safe, reliable, government-subsidised scholar transport across the province.
The organisation said it had identified numerous problems in the policy, including confusion around the responsibilities between the KZN Department of Education (DoE) and the KZN Department of Transport (KZN DoT).
“The draft policy states that the KZN DoT is responsible for providing scholar transport to pupils attending public ordinary schools, while the KZN DoE is responsible for providing scholar transport to pupils attending public special schools.
“In different instances throughout the document, the policy contradicts itself, duplicates the responsibilities or creates overlapping responsibilities, resulting in ambiguities.
“There are many instances where there are no time frames or vague time frames used to determine when obligations must be fulfilled,” she said.
Department spokesperson Muzi Mahlambi said the statement by Equal Education was not based on real concerns.
“These are people that just like to be in the media, they accused us of not having a policy and when we have a policy they say it is incoherent. They just want to stand in opposition,” he said.