Accident puts spotlight on school transport

A Bo-Kaap school is concerned after a taxi carrying 14 pupils was involved in an accident.

Parents of children attending a Bo-Kaap school have been left shaken after a minibus taxi carrying 14 pupils was involved in an accident.

The taxi had dropped off pupils at Vista High School and was on its way to St Paul’s Primary School in Bo-Kaap, shortly after 7am on Monday May 15, when the driver apparently lost control and the vehicle overturned.

St Paul’s Primary School principal Yeye Mgudlwa, said it was fortunate no one was badly injured, but steps would be taken to stop something similar happening in future.

“The parents need to know who is transporting their children,” she said. Ms Mgudlwa said 12 of the pupils had been taken to the Green Point Clinic while two had to be taken to Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital.

“There were no serious injuries, fractures or anything like that,” she said.

She said she had closed the school early at 1pm on Monday.

School parent Gcinikhaya Baleka, of Delft, said the school had called him on Monday about the incident.

While his son had not been involved, it had brought home to him the perils his child faced daily just to get to class. “I was concerned because my son travels the same route,” he said.

Mr Baleka wants the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) and the traffic authorities to do more to monitor taxis to make sure they are following the rules of the road.

“We don’t have any choice but to use the taxis,” he said, adding that they were often overcrowded, and his son had to leave home at 5.30am just to make it to class on time.

Bo-Kaap Neighbourhood Watch member Erefaan Ramjam, said the community had been worried about the traffic issues in the area for some time

“It was only a matter of time before something like this was going to happen. It is something quite serious and something needs to be done about it.

“It must be done in an orderly fashion and there must be drop-off zones.” A community meeting would be held soon to discuss the issue, he said.

WCED spokewoman Millicent Merton said parents often paid for their children to be driven to school by private individuals over whom the department “has no jurisdiction”.

“We do, however, ask that principals report cases of dangerous and unlawful transportation to the traffic authorities.

“We ask that parents take note of the private taxi operators they use and to ensure that they (the drivers) follow the traffic regulations.”

The department would offer counselling to pupils involved in the accident and those who witnessed it, she said.