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Thousands of pupils stranded

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“These same pupils, including a number of matrics, have already missed close to four weeks of schooling in the first term due to a similar scenario”

File picture: African News Agency (ANA) Archives

THOUSANDS of pupils in the Kakamas area have been left stranded after unpaid bus drivers halted pupil transport services.

It is believed that close to 2 200 children in and around the Kakamas area, ranging from Grade 1 to matric, who rely on approximately 40 buses to transport them to school, are affected by the strike that commenced at the start of this week.

The DA yesterday called on the MEC for Education, Martha Bartlett, to urgently see to it that the bus drivers are paid for services rendered.

“These same pupils, including a number of matrics, have already missed close to four weeks of schooling in the first term due to a similar scenario,” DA provincial leader Andrew Louw said yesterday.

He pointed out that at the start of the first term, the bus drivers were only paid for the month of January. “They were informed that the department’s budget had run dry. In effect, the bus drivers have rendered services for February and March with no payment from the department. They can, however, no longer afford to continue providing transport services, as their businesses are suffering.”

The spokesperson for the Northern Cape Department of Education, Geoffrey van der Merwe, said the department would provide a comprehensive response on the matter today.

– Staff Reporter