Education

Budget cuts leaves more than 37,000 pupils without transport in Eastern Cape – The Citizen

More than 37,000 Eastern Cape pupils have been left stranded without transport to varsities due to the transport division’s funds cuts.

The 37,247 pupils had been a part of 124,247 learners who had been offered transport in 2020.

The schooling division revealed, throughout a colleges readiness presentation, that solely 87,000 can be transported in 2021.



It additionally admitted there have been truly 140,884 learners in want of scholar transport.

The schooling division additionally revealed that more than 120,000 pupils dropped out of faculty because of the Covid-19 impression, however there are recent fears the dearth of transport for learners will irritate the dropout rate.

ALSO READ: DBE releases official 2021 faculty calendar

DA MPL in schooling, Yusuf Cassim, stated: “These learners have been left behind and will struggle to attend school, which will tragically lead to greater school dropouts. It is heart breaking and unacceptable.”

DA MPL in transport, Marshall von Buchenroder, stated he could be writing to Premier Oscar Mabuyane and the MEC of finance, Mlungisi Mvoko, to problem them to search out the extra funds wanted to offer scholar transport to all learners who qualify.

“Perhaps they can succeed where the Transport MEC Weziwe Tikana-Gxothiwe has failed,” stated Von Buchenroder.

“This is simply unacceptable. Learners identified for scholar transport are those who have no other means of getting to school. This ANC-led government has thrown our children to the wolves. They have failed these children,” he continued.

“The same department that has claimed the reduction in numbers is due to budget cuts underspent their budget by R94 million in 2019/20 financial year,” stated Von Buchenroder.

He stated the transport division wanted to clarify the way it had exhausted the scholar transport funds in 2020, with learners having not attended faculty in any respect throughout lockdown Level 5.

READ MORE: R634m funds shortfall leaves more than 100,000 KZN pupils without transport

The Eastern Cape transport division stated it had saved money throughout the pandemic, which was why they had been in a position to ferry more learners than budgeted for.

Transport spokesperson Unathi Binqose stated the 37,000 pupils had been ferried “as an act of generosity” as a result of the variety of learners budgeted for scholar transport was 87,000, even in 2020.

Eastern Cape chairperson of the National Association of School Governing Bodies, Mongameli Peter, stated: “This means that learners of the working class, and working people in township and rural areas, will again suffer an added strain to Covid-19, that of not getting quality learning and teaching because they will not be ferried to school where learning is taking place.”

Von Buchenroder stated the transport division was in a position to spend an additional R17.2 million for journey and subsistence for officers, up practically 25% year-on-year, from R69.4 million in 2018/19 to R86.6 million in 2019/20.

ALSO READ: Parliament urges KZN schooling division to repair areas of concern earlier than colleges reopen

“The same department, pleading poverty, was able to spend R13.4 million on catering for its officials,” added Von Buchenroder.

“This ANC-led government does not see a problem with five-star meals for their officials, while children starve, because they cannot get to the school that serves them the one meal a day that they can rely on through school nutrition programmes,” Von Buchenroder added.

Responding to the allegations of mismanagement of funds on the division, Binqose stated: “There’s no substance in these allegations.

“The fact is that, when the coffers had some savings, the department was able to accommodate more learners, and that is testimony to the commitment to ferry as many learners as is financially possible.”

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