Community members of Sunway and other settlements on Thursday blockaded Van der Hoff Road in Hartbeespoort with burning tyres and trees after school buses failed to arrive this week to transport pupils to school.
Pupils of Ennis Thabong and schools in other areas were left stranded and could not attend school last week. The bus services reportedly refused to provide their service due to non-payment by the department of education.
After urgent calls to the MEC for the Department of Community Safety and Transport Management, Sello Lehari, to address the violent protesters and the situation in the area, he visited the area, accompanied by the police.
Lehari told community members that resorting to violence was “not the best approach as there are other corrective avenues to be explored,” after which community members calmed down and roads were reopened. He assured the community that buses will resume transporting pupils to school and back.
On Friday, Lehari called an urgent meeting with the service provider. “It turned out his payments was delayed by the late submission of invoices, some of which needed to be corrected before payment could be processed,” said the department’s spokesperson, Alpheus Koonyaditse. “It was resolved that late payments and withdrawal of services would come to an end.”
“We must remember it is the children who suffer when we are bickering about who is wrong and who is right between the Department and the operators. Never again should children not be transported. We should as leaders think of the future of those children,” Lehari said. Buses arrived this week to transport the children to schools.