‘Unauthorised’ officers cry foul

2015-09-03 06:00
Fezile Mxasa and the member of Sakhubomi Community Project and Nomaphelo Mxasa (on the right) wish to get training for their voluntery work for helping learners cross the streets, in Khayelitsha.

Mbongiseni Maseko

Fezile Mxasa and the member of Sakhubomi Community Project and Nomaphelo Mxasa (on the right) wish to get training for their voluntery work for helping learners cross the streets, in Khayelitsha. PHOTO: Mbongiseni Maseko

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Scholar Patrol volunteers in Khayelitsha have come forward with claims of unfulfilled promises after a training programme did not materialise.

Members of Sakhubomi Community Project claim that they have approached Eric Swanepoel, Chief Inspector for Traffic Services, and Alderman JP Smith, mayoral committee member for Safety and Security, for the past two years requesting training, but that the negotiations must still bear fruit.

Fezile Mxasa, one of the members of the project said they were at Smith’s office when he called Swanepoel, who made a “promise” to arrange training for them.

They also exchanged emails regarding the training, but nothing came out of it.

There were about 30 volunteers when the project started three years ago, but their numbers have now shrunk to only 10 members.

They usually help learners cross the roads in all of Khayelitsha, but because of downsizing, some areas have been abandoned.

The ababndoned schools include Mangaliso Primary School, Ntwasahlobo Primary School and Sakumlandela Primary School.

Mxasa said their shifts start at 7am, then go home during the breaks and return for before the school is out.

“We do this out of concern for the safety of learners on the streets. We love what we do.

There were a number of incidents of children being knocked down by cars before, but that has changed after we started the project. When it rains, we get soaking wet because we do not even have raincoats.

We are also risking our lives stopping the cars. We do not even have insurance should we get knocked down by cars.

We would be happy to get the training and recognition by the city,” he said.

Nomaphelo Mxasa, also a member of the project, said they are left disappointed after the training did not happen.

“We will not stop helping the children, because we understand the danger they are in when they cross the streets.

We really wish to get the training,” Nomaphelo said.

Constable Thembakazi Jacobs, communication officer at Khayelitsha police station said the work of the volunteers was good.

“I also tried to organise them the training, but I had no luck with the authorities concerned. Some of the volunteers are former drug addicts who now want to help the community,” Jacobs said.

Smith said the City of Cape Town conducted an assessment in the Khayelitsha area and identified the points where Part-time Traffic Assistant (PTA) was recommended for placement.

He said funds were allocated for six posts in the area.

Smith said the interviews and short-listing of candidates has been completed and the appointment of the successful candidates is being finalised.

“The City has explained in previous meetings with the Sub-council Manager that the members of the Sakhubomi Youth Development Project have no authority to stop vehicles as only an appointed traffic officer or PTA may do so.

They can, however, guide and assist learners across the road as any other parent would do with their children.

“Certain promises were made (not by the City’s Traffic Service) to employ these members, but as we explained, there are certain criteria to adhere to before employing anyone in the City.

We interviewed people from the community who applied for these posts and then chose the best candidates.

“Please be advised that we have also encouraged the schools to establish their own scholar patrols to assist their learners in crossing the roads and that the City will provide the uniform, training and insurance.

Although we appreciate the work these members are performing, we cannot guarantee employment and there are processes to be followed,” said Smith.

Meanwhile, the disgruntled and unauthorised scholar patrol officers continue to do their job, protecting the vulnerable

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