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Provincial depts under fire for failure to raise scholar transport funds

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga revealed the Eastern Cape & Northern Cape, along with four others, did not request funding from National Treasury.

Picture: EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Some provincial education departments, including the Eastern Cape and the Northern Cape, have come under fire for failure to raise funds for scholar transport.

Replying to a parliamentary question, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga revealed the provinces, along with four others, did not request funding from National Treasury.

The national department's figures show that nearly 120,000 pupils nationally are in need of transport to school.

The six provinces have a collective shortfall of nearly R640 million in their scholar transport budgets for the current school year.

But none of them has applied for additional funding from the National Treasury despite being required to do so.

The Democratic Alliance, which asked the question, says the R189 million needed by the Eastern Cape could easily cover nearly 30,000 pupils currently walking long distances to school.

In KwaZulu Natal, lobby group Equal Education is taking the provincial Education Department to court over its failure provide transport to learners at 12 schools.

The Basic Education Department has indicated discussions are underway with the various provinces to address the funding shortage.