'WE wiLL burn buses'

Alfred Moselakgomo

Alfred Moselakgomo

Teaching and learning at two Badplaas schools came to a halt yesterday when angry parents accused the school transport operator of using unroadworthy buses.

There was chaos at the Engelsedraai Combined and Engabezweni Secondary schools in Mpumalanga when parents threatened to set alight buses belonging to MJ Transport Services if the company did not provide new buses.

Badplaas parents and pupils disrupted schooling in solidarity with those who cannot go to school because of a lack of transport.

MJ Transport has been appointed by the provincial education department to ferry pupils to and from both schools.

"The whole of last year MJ Transport was a joke as they used wrecks that were on and off," said residents' spokesman Moses Gininda.

"Complaints from both schools were filed with the Badplaas circuit of education, but no one is willing to resolve the matter," he said.

Pupils said since the schools were re-opened this year, about 200 pupils who live 90km from the school, have not been able attend school as the buses have not been able to pick them up.

Parents accused the education department of failing pupils as it has not taken action against the service provider.

The principals from both schools said they tried to save the situation by using their own cars to transport stranded pupils. But they had to abandon the initiative because they were losing too much money and the department was not paying them to ferry the pupils.

MJ Transport spokesman Senyane Mpheti said: "All these claims are only made to degrade me because some of these Swati-speaking people don't like Sotho-speaking people to work in the area."