‘Save our children’

2016-01-20 06:00
MARTHA BARTLETT (left), acting MEC for Education in the Northern Cape, accepts the Torch of Peace from Dipuo Peters, the minister of Transport. Witnessing the handover is Mildred Oliphant (on the left), member of parliament, and Talana Kompela, MEC for Transport in the Free State (on the right). Photos: Boipelo Mere

MARTHA BARTLETT (left), acting MEC for Education in the Northern Cape, accepts the Torch of Peace from Dipuo Peters, the minister of Transport. Witnessing the handover is Mildred Oliphant (on the left), member of parliament, and Talana Kompela, MEC for Transport in the Free State (on the right). Photos: Boipelo Mere

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“BOTAGWA jo bo kanakana. Ons drink nie, ons suip.”

With these words Dipuo Peters, minister of Transport, expressed her disgust at the statistical information concerning the number of people that had been arrested for drunken driving.

Peters was even more infuriated by the specified statistics that almost 50% of intoxicated drivers who had been stopped by traffic officials during the festive period were women drivers.

She strongly condemned parents’, especially women’s, carelessness regarding their children’s safety in the case of them not teaching the children to buckle up at a young age.

Peters spoke at the Tetlanyo High School, where she handed over the Torch of Peace to Martha Bartlett, the acting MEC for Education in the Northern Cape. The torch had been handed over to her department in December 2015 by the Department of Social Development.

The handover is part of the relay from one department to another, depending on the national awareness campaign taking its course on the national calendar, in order to heighten consciousness, hopefulness and enlightenment.

After reciting the Tswana poem Mosadi wa Letagwa to the hall full of learners, of different schools, Peters said she wished that the aforementioned percentage (referring to the statistics) could have rather reflected the good deeds that women did.

“As a parent, I cannot express in words how mortifying it is to learn that 10,4% of pedestrian deaths were related to children four years and younger. It means that parents are not looking after our young ones, nor are they teaching them how to use the road responsibly from an early age.

“As a matter of fact, children of that age are not even supposed to use the road without the supervision of an adult. This suggests that we are careless when it comes to the safety of our children.

“Women are generally expected to be life givers, nurturers, guardians of our children and upholders of our society’s value systems, yet the given statistics undermine that very concept and paint an immensely grim picture for the future of our country.

“Who will save our children if we, as adults, do not lead by example and demonstrate the virtues of upstanding citizenship to our children? It is time that we realized that the government cannot achieve this massive feat of reducing the carnage on its own, we need citizens to come on board by behaving correctly.”

Butana Komphela, MEC for Transport in the Free State, also attended the event. He said that the significance of the torch was also to emphasise the importance of ensuring children wore seat belts.

“This torch says you must always buckle up the child. They are the first ones who are thrown out of their seats during an accident,” Kompela said.

“O tla bona ngwana a tlhagisitse tlhogo mo lefestereng okare borakie koloi e tsamaya, ebile batsadi ba sa mo rute sentle. Kgotsa ngwana a eme mo gareng ga batsadi boo babedi a ntse a bua Sekgoa koloi e tsamaya.

Peters explained that the torch was being handed over to the Department of Basic Education at a time when the collective focus was on children returning to school.

“The Department of Transport passes on the torch in support of the beginning of the Safer Schools campaign, as the 2016 school year commences,” explained Peters.

“Gradually, the Torch of Peace has become a symbol of South Africa’s national campaigns, which include combatting violence against women and children and improving safety at schools and on the road. The Torch of Peace has evolved to represent a rallying point for the creation of a more caring and humane, and safer South Africa,” she added, revealing that the road safety programme had been extended to 365 days.

She highlighted that road accidents had shown an increase with 508 054 more drivers licenses and 21 563 more learners issued in 2015 than was the case in 2014.

“Although learners’ licence holders are only permitted to be behind the wheel of a vehicle under the supervision of the holder of a full drivers’ licence, these figures mean that, in essence, a total of 529 617 more people were eligible to drive in 2015 than there were in 2014.”

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