MEC for Community Safety and Transport Management Sello Lehari implored on scholar transport operators to engage the department from time to time whenever they experience challenges of any kind rather than abandoning their contracted routes.

There had been several incidents where learners were not transported to school as operators have abandoned their routes without informing the Department. The MEC accompanied by Acting Head of the Department, Mr Molefi Morule met operators at Embassy Hall in Mahikeng. This is part of the ongoing engagements the Department had with stakeholders.

“Some operators have a tendency of simply abandoning their routes whenever they are dissatisfied with anything. We plead with all of you to engage with us to resolve your dissatisfaction. Whether it is about your route, overloading issues or conditions of the roads, let us work together in ensuring that those learners have access to the basic education,” said MEC Lehari.

The Acting Head of Department, Mr Molefi Morule has encouraged those operators owed by the Department to urgently submit their invoice to avoid beginning the new fiscus with accruals.

“We have put aside a budget to settle all outstanding invoices to ensure all transactions are be completed before the closure of the system in this financial year,” said Mr Morule.

The Acting HoD also appealed to the operators to ensure that there is total compliance with the prescripts as any fraudulent claim will not be paid.

“Some of you don’t comply when and we would appreciate if you could work with us and just abide by the contract you have with us”, said Mr Morule.

Speaking on behalf of operators, the chairperson of the small bus operators umbrella body, SANSBOC, Mr Final Kgodumo appreciated the efforts by the Department to engage with operators. He said the scholar transport service is always viewed negatively given challenges experienced before.

“What you hear or read about scholar transport is always negative stories. There are many good things that are never told.

We do acknowledge that there are those operators who have not complied, however there are many others have delivered as per expectations. We would like to appreciate the MEC and the Department as they always make time to interact with us on issues affecting our operations. These engagements are to ensure that we do take learners to school on time to access basic education,” said Mr Kgodumo.