Bushbuckridge – Pupils competing in the Mpumalanga Provincial Participatory Education Techniques Competition have called for road safety education to be included in the schools' curriculum.
They argued that instilling knowledge of road safety and regulations in citizens from a young age and on regular basis would reduce road crashes.
Four secondary schools represented by five pupils from the Ehlanzeni, Nkangala, Gert Sibande and Bohlabela regions competed for a place in the national finals that will be held in the North West next month.
This year, Mpumalanga will be represented by Nkangala region's DM Motsaosele Secondary School and Lugebhuta Secondary School from the Ehlanzeni region.
The programme is aimed at changing pupils' attitudes towards road safety and encourage them to identify road safety challenges in their communities and find solutions through research.
In their presentations, the students suggested that government needs to improve road maintenance, visible policing and law enforcement.
Road users must meet government 'halfway'
Sandile Sibeko a learner from the DM Motsaosele Secondary School team added that the government needed to increase its investment in educating road users as individual behaviour played a significant role in road safety.
"Traffic officers cannot control people's behaviour and we as road users need to meet government halfway in this fight against road carnage by obeying the rules of the road and reporting those who disobey," said Sibeko.
Speaking on behalf of the Mpumalanga department of community safety, security and liaison, Mzamani Vuma said the department was concerned about the prevalence of road crashes, especially those involving young people who drive without licences and those who drink and drive.
"This is a very good platform to warn young people who steal or take their parents' vehicles and drive them without licences and also to instil responsibility so that when they buy cars, they know what is expected," he said.