Safer walk to school

2016-06-14 06:00
Lentegeur-East Neighbourhood Watch’s Gaironeesa Adams sees to it that children arrive at school safely.

Lentegeur-East Neighbourhood Watch’s Gaironeesa Adams sees to it that children arrive at school safely.

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Parents are taking a stand against crime, starting with children.

On Wednesday morning last week, Western Cape community safety minister Dan Plato launched the Walking Bus initiative in Lentegeur.

Ewald Botha, spokesperson to the minister, says this was the first in Mitchell’s Plain. “We launched the Lentegeur Walking Bus initiative but this is not the launch of the Walking Bus initiative as a whole. In May we launched a Walking Bus in Wesbank and towards the end of the month we are planning on rolling out the model in Leonsdale as well,” he says.

When asked if the initiative would be spread to other areas, Botha says: “The Walking Bus initiative, due to its dependency on community involvement to ensure sustainability, can be extended to any community requesting it and the Department of Community Safety will gladly assist as best we can to ensure that where there is a willing community to play a proactive role in their own immediate community they find a willing partner through the Department of Community Safety.”

The initiative aims to create a safe and supervised route for learners to and from school every day with the commitment and involvement of the community playing a central part to help create safer environments.

Parents, learners and educators, government officials and communities surrounding Lentegeur High, Meadowridge Primary, Cornflower Primary, Lantana Primary and Hyacinth Primary schools are making safety a priority.

The event was well received and saw several parents and concerned residents join the first event.

It was supported by the local neighbourhood watch, community policing forum (CPF), the relevant schools, ward councillor and the community safety department.

The Lentegeur Walking Bus will see on average 100 parents volunteering their time to help improve the safety of learners on their way to school with the support of the Western Cape Department of Social Development, the Western Cape Education Department, the City of Cape Town’s Traffic Services, Law Enforcement and Metro Police, and the South African Police Service.

Plato urged the community to continue the initiative every day. “The community of Lentegeur, like many other communities across the province, faces many problems of which crime, gangsterism and drugs are of great concern. The community of Lentegeur, however, is a resilient community who regularly partners with the Department of Community Safety through the different programmes available to help increase safety in the community,” says Plato.

“The Walking Bus initiative in Lentegeur is another example of a proactive community who knows that safety is everyone’s responsibility and who have heeded the call from the Department of Community Safety to help address the various safety needs within communities.”

Active citizenship, such as participation in the Walking Bus initiative by parents or participation in a neighbourhood watch, is a necessary step in rooting out crime from within a community, says Plato.

“The success of the Walking Bus initiative and sustainability are dependent on the community’s continued vigilance and prioritisation of the safety of our youth. The Department of Community Safety will continue to support this initiative in Lentegeur and other participating communities as long as the communities’ concerns for safety in their area are met with the willingness to help create safer environments.”

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