Equal Education (EE) urges the Western Cape Government (WCG) and Santaco to find an urgent solution to the strike as it threatens learners’ ability to access schools safely, a crucial part of the constitutional right to quality basic education.
The organisation says it is deeply concerned about the impact the ongoing taxi strike by the South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) is having on learners and school communities in the province.
This comes after the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) reported on Friday that over 280,000 learners and nearly 10,000 teachers and staff members were absent from school that day because of fears of violence and uncertainty around the strike.
However, the Western Cape Education Department has recently announced that the number has increased to 450,000.
“As tensions between the Western Cape Government and Santaco grow, and with the strike continuing this week, many learners and their families who live on the outskirts of Cape Town and rely on public transport (buses, trains, or taxis) to get to and from school are mostly affected,” EE spokesperson Jay-Dee Cyster said.
Cyster further added that learners are either forced to make other plans to travel to school or stay at home if the situation in their community is particularly tense or if schools are closed as a result. Even learners who use private transport or walk to school may be affected if violent attacks such as torching and stone-throwing continue.
“Learners are being denied their right to learn and access crucial school-based programmes like national school nutrition for as long as they are unable to access schools or enter classrooms.
“Matric learners are losing out on curriculum coverage and exam preparation at a crucial time in their school year,” Cyster said.
Cyster also said some learners have already experienced numerous setbacks, such as Covid-19 disruptions and load shedding, in their schooling journey, and they simply cannot afford to lose any more teaching and learning time.
Despite urgent negotiations involving the City of Cape Town, Western Cape Government, and Santaco since Thursday, there has been no resolution to the ongoing mini-bus taxi strike in the Western Cape.