Most vulnerable scholars still excluded from learner transport

Issued by Marina van Zyl MP – DA Shadow Deputy Minister of Basic Education
18 May 2023 in News

Note to editors: Please find attached soundbite by Marina van Zyl MP.

33% of Learners with Special Education Needs (LSEN) and 19% of learners that qualify for learner transport do not receive the necessary transport assistance. This was revealed during a parliamentary portfolio committee on basic education meeting with the Department of Basic Education (DBE) this week.

The learner transport system in South Africa faces various challenges, particularly in relation to the inclusion of vulnerable scholars.

One of the key concerns is the inconsistency in the placement of the learner transport function within different provincial departments. The DA believes that the function of learner transport should fall fully under DBE, and not be shared with the Department of Transport to ensure efficient and effective services for the most vulnerable in society.

We will advocate for this when the review of the National Learner Transport Policy comes before Parliament later this year and will present our inputs in writing to the committee.

The exclusion of LSEN, who are the most vulnerable in society and require significant government support, is of great concern. These learners, of varying ages and disabilities, rely on schools for essential mental stimulation and physical therapy. Typically hailing from disadvantaged communities, these are the children that this program was designed to assist. Instead, we find ourselves having to beg an uncaring ANC government to step in and provide the necessary resources to fulfil their constitutional right to receive basic education.

It is essential that government takes proactive measures to rectify this situation by placing the responsibility for learner transport under DBE where it rightfully belongs. Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga has had ample time to address this shortcoming, and her failure to do so shows how little the struggles of learners matter to the ANC.