Mitchell's Plain scholar transport threatens to strike over WCGov's ''stringent rules''

The Mitchell's Plain Scholar Driver Project are operating on Thursday, after the organization threatened to strike for three days, following stringent rules relating to permits, amongst others.

This comes after five minors died last week, whilst they were transported to various schools in Mitchell's Plain.


The organizations, Denver van Aarde says Thursday's strike has been postponed as they are scheduled to meet with the Western Cape's Mobility MEC, Ricardo Mackenzie.

‘’The strike is on hold, depending on the outcome with the meeting with the MEC. That was what we wanted – to engage with the minister and negotiate with them. We want to be part of the structure of government and not be excluded.’’

‘’We in Mitchell’s Plain had enough and [Provincial] Government must listen to us. The meeting was successful on Wednesday and we also invited other areas, such as Atlantis, Kraaifontein, Gugulethu, Langa and surrounds.

In a statement, the organisation said they had a meeting with a number of scholar transport drivers, who are unhappy about the long waiting period for obtaining a permit, the year model on vans to be removed, the impoundment of vehicles and what the organisation claim, the unfair treatment from provincial government.

PICTURE: Letter laying out grievances from scholar transport organisation.

‘’The waiting period for permits, we feel the proves is too long. The time we get the permits, the vans have been impounded. The price of impoundment is also expensive, so the process of being a scholar driver gets a knock. There was also a 10-year preliminary rule on it where they say only vehicles from 2006 can apply for school permits, but these vehicles we believe is for long distance and other associations. We as scholar drivers drive within our community and we want the MEC to lift these rules so we can apply with any other idea they have and we have and come to the table and work around that so that scholar drivers do not drive without permit, but our vehicles are valid and roadworthy,’’ said Denver van Aarde, spokesperson for Mitchell's Plain Scholar Driver Project.

‘’We understand there is road rules, but people need to understand that not everyone are bad apples. Yes, there are those that overload, and we do not condone that, but we can at least speak to them. Serving a community, we can say listen if you do not have transport money right now, we will still transport them, as the children are our future.

In a statement from ward 76 councillor, Avron Plaatjies, dated 1 June, 29 scholar transport vehicles were impounded.


PICTURE: Letter from Ward councillor on vehicles fined and impounded

Van Aarde warned that should the meeting not be fruitful; the strike will commence.

 ‘’Our strike would have been for 3 days. If we feel time was wasted, we will embark on the strike from tomorrow [Friday] again.’’

The Western Cape’s Mobility MEC, Ricardo Mackenzie, said he understands the frustration from scholar transport operators, but emphasised that the law needs to be followed.

“We have met twice previously with the group of scholar transport operators. I called the meeting today [Thursday] to clarify the issues and a way forward. I understand their very real concerns about not being able to become licensed with vehicles that are too old or not fit for purpose. But the bottom line is and always will be: the law is crystal clear on the safety requirements for public transport and I won’t compromise on these requirements and put peoples’ lives at risk, especially children.

‘’Our Mobility Department will continue to assist them with licensing processes, offering training and support where possible so that there are safe, reliable, affordable mobility options for learners to get to school,” added Mackenzie.

Done By: Mitchum George


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