Walking Bus programme for learners launched

2018-09-18 06:01

Western Cape minister of community safety, Dan Plato, launched a new Walking Bus initiative in Parkwood on Friday 14 September.

The initiative will see parents of Montagu Gift Primary, Parkwood Primary, Hyde Primary, Plantation Road Primary and Fairway Secondary schools volunteer their time to help ensure the safety of learners on their way to and from school.

Paul Philips from the Voice of Parkwood attended the event and said that while the Department of Community Safety is launching these initiatives, they are yet to deal with the burning issues regarding the volatility the area has been experiencing in recent weeks.

“The community even raised their concerns and said that with this launch of the Walking Bus we have an overwhelming response and presence of police, but when we have shootings and incidents in the community we have no response.

“The meeting ended on a low note, but some parents were written up to be part of the Walking Bus. We are going to have a follow-up meeting with Dan Plato,” says Phillips.

According to the Department of Community Safety, almost one third (297) of all child killings in the country (985) took place in the Western Cape.

“Recently, the province and especially areas in the City of Cape Town Metro have seen incidents, attempted incidents and alleged incidents of kidnappings occurring in our communities.

“It is clear that we all have to do our part to help keep the youth in the province safe,” states Plato.

He adds that his department is committed to drive safety issues of children and youth at risk. Since it was piloted in May 2016, the Walking Bus project has been launched in more than 75 areas with more than 220 participating schools.

“The Walking Bus initiative is an 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.

“Safety volunteers in any capacity have the potential to unite an entire community behind a common cause and take back ownership of a community from the criminal few hell-bent on institutionalising fear in our communities,” adds Plato.

For this reason, Plato and his department will continue to launch Walking Bus initiatives over the next two months in communities such as Khayelitsha, Mandela Park, Strandfontein, Portlands and Lotus River.

“The success and longevity of any Walking Bus is dependent on the community volunteers’ commitment to helping to increase safety in the area,” he adds.

Additional requests for a Walking Bus have been made in the communities of Woodstock, Zonnebloem, Kensington, Rocklands, Mitchell’s Plain and Eerste River­.

“The Department of Community Safety remains a willing partner to any community who wishes to improve safety in their own area and assist with the necessary logistical support, training and equipment in order to launch a Walking Bus.

“We will be checking in regularly on the success of all the Walking Bus initiatives to help ensure that the programmes are sustainable,” Plato says.

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