Pupils from Philippi East will no longer walk to and from school in silos, thanks to the newly launched Walking Bus initiative. A brainchild of the Department of Community Safety, the initiative was launched at Phillipi East Hall, on Friday May 25.
As part of the initiative, more than 60 parents of pupils at Klipfontein, Vuyiseka and KwaFaku primary schools as well as ZisuKhanyo Secondary would volunteer their time to ensure scholar safety walking to and from school. They will protect the pupils, from among others harassment and bullying by gangs. The department said it was committed to promoting pupil safety and since the initiative was piloted in May 2016, more than 230 schools were involved in more than 80 areas.
Community safety assistant director, ministerial outreach team, Jemayne Andrews, said the initiative was an example of a pro-active community and showed that safety was everyone’s responsibility. “We must look after our children and those of our neighbours.
“We volunteer to help protect our children. The most important thing is to protect them,” she said.
Ms Andrews urged the volunteers to woo more parents to be part of the project. She said the initiative also offered participants an opportunity to be trained to secure their families. Ms Andrews said safety volunteers had the potential to unite the community and take back the streets from criminals.
Co-ordinator of the initiative in Philippi East, Raymond Sizani, appealed to volunteers not to quit,but to help their children.
He said the success and longevity of any Walking Bus depended on the community‘s commitment. He said he would be keeping an eye on the initiative to ensure its success.
Resident and community worker, Pastor Ntombekaya Plati, welcomed the initiative. She urged members of the community to fight crime against their children. She also called on parents not to keep quiet when children were abused at their homes. Ms Plati called on parents to use social workers at the Philippi East police station if they encountered problems with their children. “We have a lot of abuse cases, especially in Marikana,” she said.
She added that they were recently called to a house where children had been locked up because one wanted to go out and drink. “That is not the first of its kind, there was another incident where a child was constantly locked in the shack. These children have not seen a school at all,” she said.