As part of completing the long and arduous process of contracting the learner transport operators, the Department has begun the verification and inspection of process busses that will ferry learners from January 2024.

This process is in part to ensure that the appointed contractors are complying with specifications of the contract including the roadworthiness of buses. The inspection and the verification process is underway simultaneously from Monday the 11th to Thursday 14th of December 2023 at various centres across the Province.

The Department has so far awarded scholar transport contract to 447 operators that will use 769 busses to transport learners over 511 cumulative routes across the Province.

As MEC Lehari has emphasised when briefed by HOD, Dr Hans Kekana on processes to be followed, challenges experienced in the past should not recur in 2024.

“We have had a lot of challenges and this new contract should address the unroadworthy vehicles, operators that previously abandon routes without informing the Department as well overloading of learners,” said MEC Lehari.

“The Department is committed to ensuring that learners are transported safely and reliably and in compliance with the law, hence this exercise,” said Dr Hans Kekana.

Some of the challenges experienced before include overloading, unroadworthy buses and late arrival of learners as some operators had to transport learners to more than one school.

The operators who will sign service level agreement with the Department will begin ferrying learners when schools reopen in mid-January 2023.