Failure by the Northern Cape Department of Education to provide learner transport is putting the lives of Smiths Mine Farm learners at risk. The department has provided temporary accommodation for learners from farms around the Jan Kempdorp area, but pupils still have to travel long unsafe distances to school.
The safety of a child is paramount, or should be; yet, parents in the Jan Kempdorp area know only fear. Their children trek great distances to school. Promises to provide the children with transport are yet to materialise.
The parents have expressed deep concern.
“This matter hurts us because our children get robbed on their way to school and walk long distances from the hostel to school.”
“My child has created a small pocket by the waist of his trouser to hide his money because he got robbed on his way to school.”
“My child says her shoes were taken on her way from school to the hostel.”
The learners say that they do not feel safe.
“We don’t feel safe because every time when we walk, men around like touching us and there was time we come back from school and a boy was beaten by some boys on our way back to school.”
“They like to call us, force us into love and when we don’t want, then they chase after us and we leave our books behind and we run. And if we have phones and money, they take our phones and money.”
The Northern Cape Department of Education Spokesperson, Lehuma Ntuane, says transport will be provided from April.
“As of next quarter that is beginning of April, we will then be affording them the learner transport, which means that there will be a route that will be generated for them, strictly from Smiths Mine to Valspan.”
Until that is realised, the children remain vulnerable to crime and have to endure a punishing journey.
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