23 October 2019
Today, Equal Education (EE) secured a major victory for accountability and for the right to education, with an agreement secured in the Pietermaritzburg High Court that the KwaZulu-Natal Education Department (KZNDoE) must release the draft KZN Scholar Transport Policy for public comment by 30 January – and if it does not meet this deadline, the KZNDoE must explain why not to the court and to EE.
In reflection about the court order secured today EE Facilitator Nontsikelelo Sibiya said: “We feel very happy about the small victories we are able to claim, and how it relates to the experiences faced by Equalisers (learner members of EE)”.
Equalisers and post-school youth members of EE in KZN have tirelessly advocated for the provision of scholar transport since 2014, and we turned to the court as a last resort. In November 2017, we secured a court order by consent in which the KZNDoE undertook to, among other things, provide scholar transport to learners at 12 schools in Nquthu by April 2018 (an enormous victory).
Today we returned to the court to demand that the KZNDoE stop wasting time in publicly releasing the provincial scholar transport policy. The KZNDoE failed to fulfil its promise to release the provincial scholar transport policy by 31 December 2018.
EE, represented by the Equal Education Law Centre (EELC), today asked the court to provide clear time frames within which the KZN Scholar Transport Policy must be finalised. We were frustrated and angered that it was necessary to go to court for government to be responsive. Read all the relevant court papers here.
Without a proper policy, the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education (KZNDoE) cannot properly decide who should qualify for scholar transport, how it should plan and budget properly, who the relevant role players are and what their roles should be, nor what alternative modes of transport should be used. This is especially concerning considering that over 370 000 learners qualify for scholar transport in KZN.
EE members eagerly await the draft policy and expect that it address the following:
- The clear division of responsibility between the provincial departments of education and transport;
- How government will plan and implement the policy;
- How they will fund scholar transport; and
- What alternative types of transport they will consider providing.
To arrange a media interview: Jay-Dee Cyster (EE Communications Officer) firstname.lastname@example.org 082 924 1352