The Deputy Minister of Transport, Mr Lisa Mangcu symbolically distributed and handed-over more than 700 bicycles to deserving learners from schools in the Nkomazi Local Municipality in the Mpumalanga province, on Wednesday, 06 March 2024, as part of the Shova Kalula Bicycle Programme. The Deputy Minister was joined by the political leadership of the Province and Municipality as well as the leadership of the schools, parents and stakeholders.

The Shova Kalula National Bicycle project of the Department of Transport was introduced as a pilot in 2001 to alleviate transport pressure on poor households and has benefited more than 24 000 deserving learners to date who walk more than 3km to 5km to and from school daily.

The Department of Transport developed the National Learner Transport Policy which was approved by Cabinet in 2015. This policy recognizes the deep challenges of learners who walk long distances to school and with adverse impact on their school attendance and performance. According to the research that was done, there are 900 946 learners in 5635 schools that required learner transport to access their schools in 2023/2024 financial year. These learners have been identified by the Provincial Departments of Education who are responsible for the selection of learners to benefit from the subsidized learner transport service in line with the National Learner Transport Policy and provincial policies.

Over 700 learners from the Sidlemu, Mphoti, Kobi and Majembeni Primary school, as well as the Sigweje, Dlamadoda and Lomahashe Secondary benefited from this initiative during the hand-over of the bicycles. Honourable Mangcu also took the Shova Kalula beneficiaries through a Cycling Safety Education Awareness lessons to encourage proper road user behaviour and safe cycling.

Deputy Minister Mangcu encourage the learners to look after the bicycles and reminded the guardians not to use them, as they are intended solely for the learners’ use.