Scholar Transport Fears Taxi Violence Affecting School Attendance

Western Cape schools saw a fewer number of learners attending as they reopened schools on Monday. It's not clear if the taxi violence has completely stopped in the province but it has been impacting the number of learners present at schools.

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There is a relatively tense atmosphere on the side of transport operations in the Western Cape Province. It can’t be confirmed if the recent taxi violence has completely come to a stop and this is now affecting schools and their learners.

Western Cape schools are experiencing low attendance numbers starting from Monday when they reopened.

Scholar transport drivers also fear that taxi violence might resume if scholar transport begins to operate. The scholar transport fears has had a direct impact on the attendance of schools as learners depend on them to get to schools.

Parents are pleading with the Department of Education in the Western Cape to escort scholar transport to areas affected by taxi violence.

The South Africa Scholar Transport Association (SASTA) Chairperson in the Western Cape, Simphiwe Bathembu, says their members have been working under risky situations:

Even before this taxi violence, our members were intimidated and extorted money. They were asked to pay R1 500 for transporting school children, so we thought if they are not working, they will continue doing this to our members.

SASTA says the education department must provide them with protection in order to resume with the transportation of learners.

A teacher from Hillside Primary school in Mitchell’s Plain, says the majority of their learners come from Khayelitsha and they depend on public and scholar transport.

The community leaders encouraged parents to send their children to school saying they will make sure they are protected.

The Western Cape Education department is not able to confirm the number of schools that have been impacted by taxi violence.

Police spokesperson, Novela Potelwa, said intelligence have been working around the clock to eliminate the threat of taxi violence in the province. She said South African National Defence force (SANDF) members are deployed in high-risk areas to strengthen police operations.

She added that Police Minister, Bheki Cele, also conducted a site visit at taxi ranks.

The Western Cape Education department hasn’t confirmed what role they will play in the transportation and protection of learners to schools.

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