Botrivier parents up in arms after WCED cancels scholar transport

A community leader told Eyewitness News on Tuesday about 200 children were left stranded.

Parents in the Overberg town of Botrivier on 6 October 2020 protested following the suspension of a scholar transport service by the Western Cape Education Department. Picture: Lauren Isaacs/EWN

CAPE TOWN – Parents in the Overberg town of Botrivier are up in arms following the suspension of a scholar transport service.

A community leader told Eyewitness News on Tuesday about 200 children were left stranded.

Primary and high school pupils were joined by their parents as they picketed in the area on Monday calling on the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) to help.

The community threatened to intensify their fight for scholar transport if their grievances were not heard.
Community leader Melvin Davids said children who relied on public transport, attended schools in the neighbouring communities of Caledon and Grabouw, situated about 30 kilometres away from Botrivier.

It is too far for them to walk and so they relied solely on scholar transport provided by the WCED.

“Last week we were informed by the department that there would be no more transport for our children,” Davids said.

He said the suspension of the service was a double blow for children who missed out on months of schooling during the coronavirus lockdown.

“Our children are sitting home at the moment. We have a high unemployment rate and the parents can’t afford to have private transport taking their children to school and exams for high school pupils start on Wednesday,” he said.

Those who were part of the transport programme said they were struggling to keep their vehicles on the road after losing their income during the lockdown.

Meanwhile, the WCED’s spokesperson Bronagh Hammond said they had to scramble to make alternative transport arrangements, particularly for grade 12 pupils who were currently writing trial examinations.

“In some instances, learners had to write at other venues or exams were cancelled, but the schools and district have made alternative transport arrangements for grade 12s in some areas,” Hammond said.

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