Safe transport arrives at 12 KZN schools following court order

Pupils in Nquthu finally have transport to and from school, a year after advocacy group Equal Education took the KwaZulu-Natal department of education to court.

At the start of the second school term on Tuesday, the department handed over buses and taxis to 12 schools in Nquthu following a high court order in November compelling the department to provide transport to pupils in the province.

The buses were delivered to Ngwane Senior Secondary School, Hlinzeka Primary School, Maceba High School, Mgazi Secondary School, Ukuphumula Secondary School, Ubongumenzi Secondary School, Hlubi High School, Hlalele Primary School, Magogo Primary School, Manzolwandle Primary School, Nkunyanana Primary School and Langazela Secondary School.

In its court application, Equal Education represented 12 schools. However, “the agreement that was made an order of court in November 2017 was not just about the 12 Nquthu schools – it was also about the provision of education to learners in need throughout the province,” Equal Education said in a statement.

“We are now working to ensure that there is proper implementation of the commitments in the court order,” it added.

The advocacy group had campaigned for transport for two years before taking the department to court.

In the 2016-2017 financial year, the department of basic education said 521 711 pupils nationally needed transport but only 419 849 got it. The provinces with the biggest shortfalls were KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape.

In its answering affidavit to Equal Education’s application, the provincial education department said the country’s bleak financial situation hindered it from providing transport to all pupils who need it. Consequently the department couldn’t make the “constitutionally recognised right of access to education in all its facets a reality on account of this”.

Last year, Mail & Guardian reported on the plight of pupils who walked for about two hours to school in Nquthu. Other pupils, whose parents paid for private transport to school, dodged death after being involved in accidents. And pupils had been raped while walking to school, Equal Education said in its court papers.

The National Learner Transport Policy, released in 2015, states: “The ability of learners to access education is hampered by the long distances they have to travel to get to school, threats to their safety and security and the cost of transport. Learners have difficulty accessing educational institutions due to the inadequacy of learner transport and insufficient schools in areas where they live.”

The policy leaves it up to provincial governments to determine which pupils, based on the distance they travel to school, would be provided with transport.

The KwaZulu-Natal education department’s draft policy on transport says pupils who have to walk more than 3km to school must be provided with transport.

Equal Education said in its statement that although it viewed the delivery of vehicles to the 12 Nquthu schools as a victory, all pupils in the country who walk long and dangerous distances to school should be provided with transport.

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Bongekile Macupe
Bongekile Macupe is an education reporter at the Mail & Guardian.

Related stories


Subscribers only

How lottery execs received dubious payments through a private company

The National Lottery Commission is being investigated by the SIU for alleged corruption and maladministration, including suspicious payments made to senior NLC employees between 2016 and 2017

Pandemic hobbles learners’ futures

South African schools have yet to open for the 2021 academic year and experts are sounding the alarm over lost learning time, especially in the crucial grades one and 12

More top stories

What the Biden presidency may mean for Africa

The new US administration has an interest and much expertise in Africa. But given the scale of the priorities the administration faces, Africa must not expect to feature too prominently

Zuma, Zondo play the waiting game

The former president says he will talk once the courts have ruled, but the head of the state capture inquiry appears resigned to letting the clock run out as the commission's deadline nears

Disinformation harms health and democracy

Conspiracy theorists abuse emotive topics to suck the air out of legitimate debate and further their own sinister agendas

Uganda: ‘I have never seen this much tear-gas in an...

Counting was slow across Uganda as a result of the internet shutdown, which affected some of the biometric machines used to validate voter registrations.

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…