9 March 2017

South Africa: Masiphumelele Pupils Get Their Bus At Last

Fifteen learners from Westlake and Capricorn, who had to hitch a lift every day to school in Masiphumelele over Ou Kaapse Weg, have a bus at last.

But 50 others still hitchhike every day.

Following a 2014 report by Groundup about learners hitchhiking, Noordhoek residents launched a campaign to raise funds for a minibus.

One of the fund-raisers, Andy Taylor, told GroundUp that paperwork, including the licencing of the vehicle had delayed the process.

The bus started operating in February, with 15 learners from Masiphumelele High School. The bus is driven by a driver from Living Hope community organisation in Capri near Masiphumelele.

School principal Mncedi Mafrika said more than 50 other learners still had to hitchhike.

The school held meetings with parents and explained that not all the learners would find a place in the bus, he said. "Parents had to apply and 15 children were chosen."

The school had prioritised learners whose parents were unemployed or had very little work, or who survived on social grants.

"We wanted children who really could not afford to pay for transport at all," said Mafrika.

Learner Yonela Mdaka said she was happy to have a place on the bus.

"We wake up later than we used to, and now we get to attend all the classes because we are early at school every day," said Mdaka.

Mafrika said the learners who had a place on the bus arrived early at school and no longer arrived tired.

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