Let me first take this opportunity to thank all of you for showing interest in this session, which seeks to give in detail our state of readiness with regard to the scholar transport service in the 2013 academic year.
As the MEC responsible for this service, I can say without fear of contradiction that since the migration of Scholar Transport from the Department of Education to the Department of Transport, there has been a significant improvement in the service. However, the department still believes that a lot can still be done in order to improve the efficiency of the service.
Even the Department of Education acknowledges that the service, as administered by the Department of Transport, has dramatically improved since 18 July 2011. For the first time there is actual control over who transports the scholars, the type of vehicles and whether the service was actually rendered.
We also believe that the new arrangement of the scholar transport services has contributed in the improvement of the matric results of the class of 2012, because learners' school attendance has improved.
While the department is still finalising the bidding process in search of the new service provider, we have decided to re-appoint One Future Development 46 for a period of six months starting from 16 January until 30 June 2013 in order to avoid unnecessary disruption of the service during this critical period of the re-opening of schools.
The terms and conditions of this engagement are the same as those of the contract that expired in December 2012. They are expected to transport the same number of learners (54 000) on the same routes and pick - up points. The budget allocation for scholar transport services in the 2013/14 financial year is R340 million.
This year we will see a major improvement in the monitoring of the scholar transport service as we have instructed our provincial traffic officers to work together with our public transport inspectors in all districts to conduct spot checks for roadworthiness of vehicles that will be ferrying learners and fitness of drivers.
We want to make sure that as from tomorrow morning learners are transported on time and safely throughout the province.
Issued by: Eastern Cape Transport