Best scholar transport drivers awarded

None Jikwana, from Nyanga, and Felix Phahlane, from Gugulethu, won big prizes.

Two scholar transport drivers from Nyanga and Gugulethu walked away with the top prizes at the award ceremony of the Childsafe Safe Travel to School programme.

Childsafe is a children’s safety advocacy organisation.

The annual ceremony held at UWC, on December 1, was the culmination of Childsafe’s Safe Travel to School programme. The award winners were None Jikwana, from Nyanga and Felix Phahlane, from Gugulethu, who each won a brand-new seven-seater Nissan vehicle. Their awards reflect their consistently exemplary driving throughout the year, the organisers said.

First runner-up, Tsholosholo Benjamin Khantsi, from Gugulethu, won R20 000 in cash, a
R5 000 petrol voucher and a trophy; second runner-up, Anthea Smith, from Kraaifontein, won R15 000 in cash, a R5 000
petrol voucher and a trophy;
and third runner-up, Sam Msadu, from Gugulethu, won R10 000 in cash, a R5 000 petrol voucher and a trophy.

The most improved driver, Ridawaan Kamalie, won R5 000 in cash, a R5 000 petrol voucher and a trophy. Other drivers were recognised for being consistent, engaged and dedicated scholar transport drivers, and were each awarded a R5 000 petrol voucher.

Childsafe launched the Safe Travel to School programme in Athlone in 2014, with just 17 drivers. Now around 800 drivers are registered with the programme, driving over 10 000 children to school and back every day. Under the programme, drivers are awarded for exemplary driving every three months, when they receive cash prizes. At the end of the year, the safest drivers receive a grand prize in the annual awards ceremony.

“Childsafe research shows that scholar transport drivers on the programme drive more safely than the average driver in Cape Town. Since the launch of the programme, no fatal incidents involving scholar transport, among the programme’s drivers, have been recorded,” says Kay Jaffer, project co-ordinator for the Safe Travel to School programme.

Branmal Swartz, ex-principal of Norma Road Primary School, in Silvertown, Athlone, where the programme was first launched in 2014, said to the hundreds of drivers present at the ceremony: “You guys sitting here are true South African heroes. You’re giving thousands of learners access to education. You’re partners in education.”

Childsafe national director, Yolande Baker, announced at the ceremony that the programme would be expanded to the Eastern Cape. “We’re celebrating the five years of work you, as drivers, do every day. Every single day thousands of children get to school safely with you,” said Ms Baker.

Professor Sebastian van As, chair of the Childsafe SA Board and head of the paediatric trauma unit at Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital, said: “Thousands of children are killed on our roads every year, and in most cases, it is because of driver error. By growing awareness and driving more safely, we create a safer community for everyone.”