Thirty-five Learners Crammed inside Toyota Quantum at Transport Operation
Statement by Donald Grant, Minister of Transport and Public Works
Early this morning, I attended a Scholar Transport Operation conducted by the City of Cape Town’s (CoCT) Traffic Services at Holy Cross Primary School in Zonnebloem. During this operation a driver was nabbed for cramming 35 learners into a 14-seater Toyota Quantum.
This was just one of many such operations conducted by CoCT Traffic Services in and around the Metro area, targeting driver fitness, as well as roadworthiness for private vehicles used to transport scholars.
The operations are conducted in areas where the conditions under which scholars are being transported to and from school, are contrary to those envisaged by the National Land Transport Act (NLTA). The NLTA 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.
Adherence to these legal requirements ensures that children are transported to their schools in an environment conducive to their safety.
This morning’s scholar transport operation revealed that many children are still being transported under very dangerous and unacceptable circumstances, despite continued operations and numerous appeals to parents to assist us in our efforts to make scholar transport safer.
Many vehicles stopped were either very overloaded, unroadworthy, or had a variety of defects. Even more concerning is that some of the drivers transporting the children to school were without the necessary authority to carry out this important service; namely driver’s licences, operating licences, or PrDPs (professional drivers’ permits). This poses a serious threat to the safety of all the children who travel under such adverse conditions.
At this morning’s operation:
- 19 vehicles were impounded.
- 17 drivers were operating without the necessary operating licence, with two operating in contravention of an existing operating licence.
- 16 drivers were unlicensed, with another 15 driving without their driver’s licences.
- 14 vehicles were overloaded (one Quantum with 35 learners, and another with 28 learners).
- Seven drivers were transporting children without a PrDP.
- Seven failed to display a licence disc.
- Two vehicles were issued fines for faulty tyres, with another 16 receiving safety belt related fines.
Since January 2015, City of Cape Town’s Traffic Services (Public Transport Unit) have conducted 32 scholar transport operations in and around the city, impounding 138 vehicles and issuing close to 2 000 fines in a continued effort to improve safety and quality.
Parents must partner with us in our efforts to protect school children, and must, when contracting privately with scholar transport operators, take every practical step to ensure that their transport is safe and reliable, and that the driver has the relevant records and authorization. Province, law enforcement, schools and parents can and must do more to ensure that scholar transport is safer, and that our young children are protected from undue danger.
Scholar Transport Safety Tips for Parents
When contracting privately with scholar transport operators, parents must:
- Take every practical step to ensure that the transport provided is safe.
- Ensure that the driver of their children is properly authorised to perform this function, including being in possession of a valid driver’s licence, a Professional Driver’s Permit, and a roadworthy certificate for their vehicles (as is required by law).
I should like to commend the City of Cape Town’s Traffic Services for the work that they do around ensuring the safety of learners travelling to school. I am encouraged by this morning’s interaction with one of the Principals of a school in the area, and the interest taken in the safety of young learners.
The City of Cape Town Traffic Services, Provincial Traffic and Safely Home will continue to do all we can to ensure the safety of our children through continued operations, focussed interventions, and campaigns at places where we know children are most at risk.