KZN to supply rural school children government-funded transport
The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education has just shy of five months to supply government-funded transport to pupils in the rural district of Nquthu.
This was negotiated between lawyers acting for the department and those representing non-governmental organisation Equal Education‚ moments before they were set to face off in the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Tuesday.
The court action follows a two-year campaign by Equal Education‚ after the group highlighted the plight of school children in the northern reaches of the province‚ who have to walk long distances to and from school. The children from 12 schools identified in the court action are vulnerable to extreme weather and violent crime‚ and frequently arrive at their classrooms late and unable to focus.
While the matter was being argued in chambers‚ pupils protested outside the court barefoot.
According to the settlement‚ a copy of which has been obtained by TimesLIVE‚ the department will take all reasonable steps in terms of the 2013 KwaZulu-Natal Learner Transport Policy to provide government-assisted transport by April 1 2018.
“[The transport will be provided] to learners in these schools‚ who are hindered by distance and mobility‚ and an inability to afford the costs of transport to and from their schools‚” the statement on the settlement reads.
The department was also ordered to pay the costs of the application‚ and to provide a report on their interventions before April 2018.