EFF pushes back-to-school campaign dubbed #Sizofunda Ngenkani

Pupils on their way to school. Picture: Jacques Naude/African News Agency (ANA)

Pupils on their way to school. Picture: Jacques Naude/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Jan 12, 2023


Pretoria - The EFF remains steadfast in its call for the abolition of the tender system after hundreds of learners in Gauteng were left stranded with no transportation on their first day back at school yesterday.

The EFF embarked on its back-to-school campaign, dubbed #Sizofunda Ngenkani, and called on all its public representatives to engage all bus service providers in their respective communities to ensure that no learner is left behind.

The party said this was a direct result of the Department of Education’s failure to pay service providers for the past three months. Not only did this kill small black-owned businesses, but it was also completely undermining and violated children’s constitutional right to an education.

“This follows a tug-of-war between two bus service providers who found themselves in court at the beginning of the 2022 academic year over the bus service tender. We call for the immediate payment and resumption of bus services by the incompetent education MEC and Gauteng department.”

It said: “This inefficient and corrupt ANC-led government continues to fail the poor and marginalised. It does not see any value in black lives and livelihoods. As we speak, there is no child of an MEC, mayor or premier who is currently at home because they could not find placement in school on time or is stranded at the bus stop due to the lack of transport.”

EFF Gauteng spokesperson Dumisani Baleni said #SizofundaNgenkani, also known as the Back to School Campaign, focused mainly on access to education. He said it was their understanding as the EFF that the education system – both at basic and higher education levels – still systematically excluded black people from access and continues to do so. The campaign is about access to education.

“We had problems with transportation, a lot of children had to go back home because buses did not pitch. Bus service providers were not paid their money, some going back to last year October, and the other problems cited by schools and governing bodies included technical issues with the online system, missing documents, late applications and other things.

“We also have encountered a situation where schools have more classes for Afrikaans language learners and very few for English, and this reflects the Bantu education policy tactics, with Afrikaans classes having less than 30 learners while the few English classes are overcrowded, and this happens in public schools, where we pay our taxes.”

The EFF said the government had to build more schools and open more classes.

“With immediate effect, there must be the opening of schools for children to register and get to class. Those who applied late, and others who could not submit the required documents must be allowed to access the classroom because children cannot be denied education on the basis of glitches in the online system.

“With regards to transportation, bus service providers must be paid timely. But as the EFF, we are proposing that the Gauteng government must do away with outsourcing of bus services. We must abolish the tender system and implement a working, cost-effective and reliable state transportation system in schools.

“To the parents whose kids could not be admitted, we say that cannot be allowed.

“No kid must spend the whole year not going to school, and there is no need to send their children to provinces far from their work because of this misunderstanding.

“The EFF is open to taking any case of exclusion, any issue. We are willing to assist, and people must be free to call us,” Baleni said.

Pretoria News