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The South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (SADTU) is gravely disturbed and shocked to learn that 15 Eastern Cape learners who were travelling from Bizana to Gauteng to attend a music competition nearly lost their lives when their minibus taxi collided with a truck.
Sixty-one learners left the Eastern Cape for Gauteng last night travelling in different minibus taxis. One of the taxis, carrying 15 learners, collided with a truck in the early hours of this morning near Estcourt in KwaZulu-Natal.
All the 15 learners sustained injuries, three were treated for minor bruises and discharged. Two had to be sedated; one is in the high care unit; four had fractures and six were still awaiting x-ray results.
The taxi driver was critically injured on the lower jaw, and he lost one eye.
It is a sad day that in 2022, twenty-eight years into the new democracy, there isn’t an adequate scholar transport policy. Schools must hire their own transport to take learners to other provinces without any set of guidelines on the mode of transport and what to look for when hiring transport.
In most instances, learners have got to contribute towards transport and accommodation costs. Knowing the economic and social circumstances most learners come from, schools end up hiring the cheapest and not necessarily the safest mode of transport. We cannot allow the children of the poor who want to showcase their talent, to be subjected to unsafe conditions. We therefore urge the Eastern Cape Department of Education to take full responsibility and provide safe modes of transport and accommodation.
The participation of learners in these competitions is critical to their development and should therefore be given proper attention by the Department. Many learners miss out on being exposed and showcasing their talents because they cannot afford to reach these platforms. It is therefore incumbent upon the Department to ensure that this happens within a safe environment in line with the agreed upon safety standards.
Issued by SADTU Secretariat