The province’s standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) is expecting a busy 2013 but will be focusing on an important matter carried over from last year, a subject dear to us in Knysna, the Rheenendal bus crash.
First on the agenda for SCOPA is the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) report on pupil transport. The report was presented to Scopa last year on condition that it remained confidential. reporter, Clayton Barnes, reports that:
“Sources say the report shows that the department was negligent because it had not fulfilled the terms of its contract with pupil-transport service providers and had not inspected its vehicles regularly. The negligence included not checking whether the number of seats in a vehicle matched the number of pupils the service provider was contracted to transport.
ANC MPL and Scopa member Max Ozinsky said the department was aware of the report at least five months before the Rheenendal tragedy.
Fourteen pupils and their driver died in Rheenendal when their school bus plunged into a river outside Knysna in 2011.
Last year, WCED head Penny Vinjevold told Scopa that the report could not be made public as it was an internal document.
Ozinsky said the ANC would consider launching a Promotion of Access to Information application to compel the department to make public the report.”