10 JULY 2017
Tomorrow, outside the head offices of the KwaZulu-Natal Education Department in Pietermaritzburg, Equal Education members will be gathering for the screening of our new short film, Long Walk To School. The film traces EE’s scholar transport campaign since 2014, and the lives of the EE members who have challenged the refusal of the provincial government to provide their schools with government-subsidised buses.
Tomorrow’s screening, at 4pm, will be attended by EE members from Nquthu, including Siphilele Thusini and Nompilo Zungu, who are both featured in the #LongWalkToSchool film.
On Wednesday 12 July at 4pm, the #LongWalkToSchool film will be screened outside City Hall in Durban.
Equal Education members have secured significant victories in the years-long fight for access to scholar transport: pressuring national government to adopt and publish the National Scholar Transport Policy in 2015, getting Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga to finally commit to exploring a conditional grant to fund scholar transport, and ensuring that three schools in Nquthu were provided with government-subsidised buses.
It is however still the case that learners in KZN (and elsewhere in the country) must walk punishing distances to access an education, arriving at their classrooms late and unable to focus, and vulnerable to severe weather. Learners must daily face the very real fear of sexual violence.
Mobilisation and protest, engagement at the political and bureaucratic level of provincial government, and multiple submissions to Parliament have been features of EE’s #LongWalkToSchool campaign. For over two years, EE and Equal Education Law Centre (EELC) have been working to secure access to scholar transport for 12 schools in Nquthu.
The KZN Departments of Education and Transport are refusing to provide scholar transport to seven of the 12 schools, claiming that they do not have the money to do so. The Departments claim that the remaining five schools are “schools of choice” and not “schools of need” – that these are not the schools nearest to the homes of the learners that attend them. As has been widely reported on in the media, EE has launched court action against the Departments, filing papers with the Pietermaritzburg High Court.
We will not stop fighting until learners in all 12 schools in Nquthu – and all learners who are in need nationally – have access to free, safe scholar transport!
For further information:
Mila Kakaza (EE Spokesperson) 076 553 3133
Luyolo Mazwembe (EE Head of National Organising) 073 475 7921