Walking the walk

2018-10-09 06:00
Zakariya Stellenboom, Faheemah Francis, Sandy Schuter and MEC for Community Safety, Dan Plato, at the launch of the Strandfontein Walking Bus.

Zakariya Stellenboom, Faheemah Francis, Sandy Schuter and MEC for Community Safety, Dan Plato, at the launch of the Strandfontein Walking Bus.

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Their aim is to further grow a new initiative introduced to the area, through the assistance of locals.

The Strandfontein Walking Bus, officially launched last month, has already gotten off to a great start, servicing the local schools in the area.

“The Walking Bus was piloted by the Department of Community Safety in partnership with the Strandfontein Community Policing Forum (CPF), Strandfontein police and in conjunction with the two primary schools in the area. The initiative is open to whoever is available in the morning and the afternoon to accompany minors to and from school,” says Sandy Schuter, CPF chairperson.

“We would establish a safe route for the children to walk with the Walking Bus. They will guide the children from their homes to schools.”

The initiative sees parents, grandparents and residents in green reflector jackets, “driving” young “passengers” to and from school.

“All volunteers must complete a vetting process so that parents can be assured that all volunteers are criminally cleared and have no records,” she says.

The Walking Bus initiative has already been launched in more than 70 communities in the Western Cape and is an initiative by the Department that was first introduced seven years ago, in response to concerns regarding the safety of young learners when travelling to and from school.

“We want to create a safer environment. There are so many robberies happening along these routes and we want more visibility. It is not only for the safety structures. Anyone who wants to come along and is available at these times is welcome to contact us. We add names to the database and contact them when they can come for the screening before the department does the official launch and training,” says Schuter.

“They will then receive their equipment and the CPF and police will establish a safe route for them, walking the first few mornings with them along the route.”

Parents at the schools have already been engaged through communications from the school management.

The Department of Community Safety officially launched the Walking Bus pilot project at Sunray Primary School in Delft in July 2011. V To get involved, or for more information, call Faheema Francis on 082 084 3890.

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