This morning, at a Scholar Transport Operation conducted by the City of Cape Town Traffic Services and the Safely Home team at Holy Cross Primary in Zonnebloem, a large number of vehicles transporting children to school were stopped and checked for roadworthiness, appropriate documentation and suitability to operate as scholar transport.
This operation formed part of ongoing operations targeting schools in the metro area, where scholars are being transported in conditions contrary to the National Land Transportation Act, which requires vehicles to be roadworthy and appropriate for the transportation of scholars, as well as for operators to be in possession of the necessary documentation/authority in order to carry out this function.
Although the situation with regard to scholar transport has seen some improvement since we began these operations a few years ago, what we saw today remains unacceptable; hundreds of young children are still being transported to and from school under very dangerous circumstances on a daily basis across the metro.
At this morning’s operation:
Eight impoundments (no operating licence – 6, operating contrary to operating licence – 2)
One arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol (concentration of alcohol in breath was 0.41 percent, the limit being 0.24 percent)
One arrest for outstanding warrants
28 cases written for various other offences.
The fact that someone can endanger the lives of young children by transporting them while intoxicated is disturbing, and should never be allowed to happen. I understand the difficulties that parents face in getting their children to school, but government cannot ensure their children’s safety on its own.
While I believe we need to greatly increase the number of traffic police available in the Province, parents must also take every practical step to ensure that the transport used is safe and reliable and that the driver has the relevant records and authorization. Province, law enforcement, schools and parents can make scholar transport better together and protect young children who are always the innocent victims to the carnage on the road.
At this morning’s operation, all the children that had been travelling in suspended vehicles were transferred to minibuses provided by the Department of Transport and Public Works, ensuring that they arrived at school safely.
In previous operations conducted by the City of Cape Town Traffic Services, during 2012 and 2013, a total of:
30 drivers were arrested and their vehicles impounded,
1 467 cases written for various offences, ranging from overloading to faulty tyres and unfit vehicles.
We clearly still have a long way to go in ensuring that scholars are safely transported to and from school. Law enforcement will continue to clamp down on such dangerous practices that endanger young lives, but parents and schools must play a part in ensuring that we achieve this goal.