Kids ‘at risk’ on road

2018-03-06 06:00
Teachers helping learners to cross on Royal Road on Wednesday 28 February. PHOTO: Nomzamo Yuku

Teachers helping learners to cross on Royal Road on Wednesday 28 February. PHOTO: Nomzamo Yuku

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“Are the officials waiting for the worst to happen before they start acting? I have been asking the City of Cape Town to do something to implement traffic calming measures and to give us a pointsman. I am desperate for help.”

These were the words of Anwar Allie, the principal of Koeberg Primary School in Maitland, after a Grade 6 learner was involved in a collision between a taxi and a truck in front of the school on Thursday 22 February.

He says learners and teachers at the school are at risk of being seriously injured by reckless drivers while crossing or being dropped off at the school due to a dangerous slipway linking Koeberg Road to Royal Road.

Allie explains that the road was widened and a slipway put in, which ended up taking part of the school property.

He says this has resulted in cars coming from Koeberg Road into Royal Road at very high speed. He suggests that traffic lights be installed around the corner as a speed calming measure.

Allie says he has been trying for more than a year to negotiate solutions with the City, but nothing has come of this, forcing him to risk asking teachers to help the learners cross the road every morning and afternoon.

“I have asked for a pointsman to man the pedestrian crossing but this was refused.

“I asked for the school to use a scholar patrol but this was refused because of the danger to the scholar patrol.

“Anyone who enters the gate of the school is at risk because the gate is so close to the road.

“I have since put structures in place and teachers now help children cross the road. But I cannot ask teachers to stand on the road helping children to cross as they are also in danger.”

According to him, a number of children have already fallen victim to reckless drivers and the recent incident has been very traumatising for the school.

He says the 14-year-old girl was about to disembark from the taxi when the speeding driver collided with a truck that was also turning in the same direction onto the slipway­.

“It could have been much worse,” says Allie.

“This is the first major accident right in front of the school. In the past, many children were knocked over. How many more times do I have to stand in the road, calming down a child who has been involved in an accident?”

The victim was taken to a day hospital to be treated for shock and took two days off school after the incident as she was reportedly suffering from extreme shock.

She says she is still battling with flashbacks of the incident and she worries that other learners will not be so lucky.

“I want to ask government officials to do something about the issue of traffic near the school. 

“We are not safe. The road is too close to our gate and there are no enough traffic control measures,” the learner says. 

Teacher Charlene Carelse says the situation has forced the teachers to take the risk of helping the learners cross the road, even though it puts the teachers at risk.

She says the City has ignored numerous attempts by the school to create a safe crossing zone for the school even before Allie took over as the school principal­. 

Carelse believes the City “does not care about the safety” of the learners.

The school has 650 learners from Grade R to Grade 7, aged six to 14 years.

Brett Herron, Mayco member for transport and urban development, says the subcouncil is aware of the safety concerns regarding the slipway outside the school. 

“It was one of the items on the subcouncil agenda for investigation of additional remedial measures. 

“The investigative results, based on the City’s revised traffic calming policy, identified the need for additional safety improvements along Royal Road, especially in the vicinity of the school. 

“The City’s Transport and Urban Development Authority (TDA) has therefore approved the implementation of two speed humps on either side of the existing signalised pedestrian crossing. 

“The TDA has also, in the interests of safety, recommended that the existing signalised pedestrian crossing be relocated to about 30m further east from its current position, and that it is converted into a raised signalised pedestrian crossing,” says Herron.

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