Parents, volunteers and community stakeholders have raised their hands to take part in a new initiative in F Section in Khayelitsha to ensure the safety of pupils to and from school every day.
The Walking Bus initiative is spearheaded by the MEC for Community Safety Dan Plato and was launched on Friday September 21 at Eyethu hall. This initiative seeks to create a safe and supervised route for the pupils to and from schools. The parents and volunteers donate one and half hours in the morning and afternoon.
However, the parents’ involvement and commitment is key in this initiative to see it yield the desired outcomes.
Mr Plato said the first initiative was launched in 2016 and after that they had launched a number of them through the assistance of community stakeholders. He said as parents and government they needed to ensure that pupils were travelling in a safe environment when walking to and from school.
He emphasised that policing was not the role of police alone but the society at large must play its part. He said even if parents don’t have children attending a nearby school they should adopt a school in their communities.
Mr Plato said residents and the community at large cannot sit back with folded arms and point out problems but should become part of the solution.
He applauded parents for raising their hands and taking full responsibility for the well-being of their children.
He said the harsh and sad reality was that government would never be able to fight crime alone and it needs to have the community’s support. He said parents should be proactive when it comes to the safety of their children, especially in light of recent reported abductions. Mr Plato said the bibs that the volunteers wear give them authority and it makes it easier for the children to identify them.
He said it is time that parents and the community at large take ownership of their streets and create a safe society for children.
Mr Plato said children should not have to drop out of school because they do not feel safe when going to school. He said parents should also ensure that the schools their children attended were looked after and were protected from any criminal activities.
“We are doing all we can to make sure that the children’s safety is a priority. The future of our children solely depends on us. We must pave the way for them so that they can chase their dreams.
“We should put together our expertise to curb crime. To make this a success we need parents to pull together,” he said.
Mr Plato said he plans to launch the Walking Bus initiative in more areas.
Parent Pakamile Tokwe said he felt that he should play his part in creating a better future for the children. He said crime was on the rise and the future of the children was at stake therefore it is important that children are protected all the time.
The 60-year-old said as people who are at home they should be the drivers of this initiative and not always expect to be paid for rendering a community service which benefits our children.
Another resident, Nosiphiwo Torho, said she opted to join the Walking Bus because it was for a good cause and urged other residents to rally behind this initiative.