On the 30th and 31st of March, 300 members of Equal Education will be walking from New Hanover to Pietermaritzburg to demand the proper implementation of the national scholar transport policy. The march, in which learners, parents and teachers will be participating, will take place over two days (4 hours each day). There will be designated resting places along the route where invited guests will address Equalisers and pledge their support. The final stop for the march is the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education, as we have asked (in writing) that KZN Education MEC Peggy Nkonyeni accept our memorandum.
In November 2014 and in January 2015, Equal Education and the Equal Education Law Centre visited Nquthu in KZN (read press statement), and discovered that learners were walking between 3km and 12km to get to school (and the same number of kilometres home). Children as young as seven were leaving home before 6:30am to arrive at school before the first lesson of the day began. Along the way to school these learners faced all sorts of dangers, including being raped or robbed, and having to cross swollen rivers.
In KZN alone, more than two million primary school and high school learners walk all the way to school. Of these learners, only 22 045 of are being provided with scholar transport. Despite KZN being the province with the greatest demand for learner transport, only the Free State spends less money on scholar transport than KZN.
The march on the 30th and 31st of March, is symbolic of the long walk to school thousands of learners are subjected to everyday. We will be putting forward the following demands in our memorandum:
1. We demand that there be emergency relief for the 11 schools in Nquthu that qualify for scholar transport.
2. We demand the proper and full implementation of the national scholar transport policy.
3. We call on the Provincial Department as well as the Provincial Treasury to allocate sufficient funding for the provision of scholar transport.
Further details on the long walk will be released next week, including the names of prominent South Africans who will be participating and pledging support.
For more details and comment contact:
Luyolo Mazwembe (EE National Organiser) – 073 475 7921
Ntuthuzo Ndzomo (EE Deputy General Secretary) – 072 931 4343
Nombulelo Nyathela (EE Spokesperson) – 060 503 4933