On Saturday 15 December 2018, Executive Mayor Dan Plato hosted approximately 1 500 Walking School Bus volunteers at a thank you lunch and certificate ceremony at the Cape Town Civic Centre. Read more below:
The Walking Bus initiative, which sees members of the community, specifically parents, volunteering to walk groups of children to and from school as a means to provide a safe transport corridor, was launched by Mayor Plato in 2016 during his time as Western Cape Minister of Community Safety.
Since inception, Walking Buses have been launched in more than 90 areas, with a large number in the Cape Metro, including Lentegeur, Beacon Valley, Bishop Lavis, Scottsdene, Blue Downs, Eerste River, Leonsdale, Elsies River, Bonteheuwel, Hanover Park, Manenberg, and Ocean View.
The programme is supported by schools, Metro Police, Law Enforcement, and Traffic Services, the South African Police Service (SAPS), Community Police Forums (CPFs) and local Neighbourhood Watches (NHWs). Where possible, the Walking Bus members also keep an eye on the perimeter of the schools in the areas where they operate.
The Walking Bus provides peace of mind for parents, especially those who are working and are concerned about their children’s safety.
Saturday’s certificate ceremony was also attended by Mayoral Committee members Cllr Malusi Booi, Cllr Sharon Cottle, Ald Grant Twigg, Cllr Phindile Maxiti and Cllr James Vos, as well as councillors from the respective areas in which the Walking Buses are established. The ceremony served as an acknowledgement for the hard work of all the volunteers over the past year as the respective communities have taken active steps to increase safety in their neighbourhoods.
All members are registered with the Western Cape Department of Community Safety and receive reflector vests and whistles. The programme is supported by regular follow-up meetings, safety workshops and training, with a focus on first aid and conflict resolution.
‘I am very pleased to see how many of our community members have taken it upon themselves to play an active part in contributing towards improving the safety levels of their communities. While we are thankful for all the hard work of the South African Police Service, we know that they also need support. By establishing a safety presence every day in our communities, these walking school buses are making a big difference and providing a safe passage for the many children who walk to school every day,’ said Mayor Plato