Hundreds of Gauteng 'school buses' unroadworthy
At least 203 of 485 buses in the Gauteng scholar transport programme are unroadworthy, provincial education MEC Barbara Creecy said on Thursday.
Speaking at the Randburg testing station in Johannesburg, she said there were 700 buses in the subsidised scholar transport programme, 485 of which had been tested so far.
Most of the buses found to be unroadworthy had defective brakes, faulty steering mechanisms, and loose wires and bolts.
"A lot of the buses had major oil leaks and their brakes were not effective, but I would not say they were an immediate danger to the public," said testing station manager Charles van der Heere.
He said the test included inspection of tyres, brakes, lights, and steering.
The bus operators would be given two weeks for repairs and would be allowed to undergo another test.
Creecy said bus operators had until Friday next week for their buses to comply with road safety standards.
"The point is that the buses will be given a chance, but if it's not safe, it's off the roads."
She said there had not been any accidents involving the buses since the beginning of the year.
"We have only had two minor accidents after the last fleet of buses were tested last year."
Creecy accompanied inspectors as buses were being tested at the station.
She said the faulty buses were unacceptable as they were placing children's lives at risk.
"Obviously, from the side of the department, we are not getting any value for money.... This is taxpayers' money that the service providers are getting."
She said the aim was to have all buses tested during school holidays so they would be ready to be on the roads when pupils returned to school.
Testing scholar buses would now be an annual event after it started last year.
"We feel that this process is yielding fruit. We are scared to say that there will be no accidents but we feel that we are taking precautions in the interest of our children."