With the new academic year in full swing, the City of Cape Town’s enforcement agencies are pitching in to help keep children safe – on the school grounds and on the road, among others. Read more below:
The City of Cape Town’s Law Enforcement, Metro Police, and Traffic Services Departments have joined the back-to-school fray by providing a number of services designed to help keep learners safe.
This includes 36 Law Enforcement School Resource Officers (SROs) who are deployed in teams at the following 18 schools which were identified by the Western Cape Education Department as the priority schools in need of the intervention services provided by the SROs:
- Bishop Lavis and John Ramsay Secondary schools in Bishop Lavis
- Dr Nelson Mandela Secondary in Crossroads
- Leiden Secondary in Delft
- Forest Heights Secondary in Eerste River
- Fairmount Secondary in Grassy Park
- ID Mkhize Secondary in Gugulethu
- Crystal Secondary in Hanover Park
- Iqhaya, Oscar Mpetha and Sizimisele Secondary schools in Khayelitsha
- Lotus River Secondary
- Downville Primary, Phoenix and Silverstream Secondary schools in Manenberg
- Cedar and Tafelsig Secondary schools in Mitchells Plain
- Wesbank Secondary
The SROs work with their schools to find and address the problems that may lead to disorder, ill-discipline and crime. This includes providing social support. In 2016, the SROs reported the following successes at the schools where they were deployed, in the neighbouring communities, and also as part of the City’s festive season policing plan:
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‘The school resource officers provide a valuable service and I wish we had the budget and resources to increase the deployment footprint. Schools should be safe spaces, but the reality is that bad apples exist in these environments and so the SROs are tasked with the early identification of illegal activities and potential risks, patrolling the school grounds to nip criminal activity or anti-social behaviour in the bud, and helping to develop safe movement corridors with local security agencies in high-risk areas,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security, Alderman JP Smith.
On the roads, the City’s Transport Enforcement Unit focuses on whether public transport vehicles (including scholar transport) have operating licences, whether the vehicles are roadworthy, and whether the drivers of such vehicles are fit to be behind the steering wheel.
Vehicles that do not have operating licences, or that operate contrary to the conditions of their operating licences, are impounded. The unit also focuses on the overloading of vehicles and whether scholars are being transported in the back of goods compartments.
Scholar transport vehicles that are in an unroadworthy condition are suspended and the driver is prevented from continuing their journey. The driver of the vehicle is then requested to make the necessary arrangements to have a replacement vehicle sent to continue the journey.
‘We once again appeal to parents to check the bona fides of their children’s school transport operators and make sure that they have the necessary permits, but also that their vehicles are safe. There are many safe, reliable operators but there are many others who wouldn’t think twice about placing lives at risk to make a quick buck.
‘Apart from the focus on scholar transport, we also appeal to road users to be particularly cautious around school zones. It’s important to slow down and pay attention, and to come to a complete stop at all stop signs and red traffic lights. Remember that at student safety patrols, pedestrians of all ages have the right of way. The law requires that you stop for pedestrians in the crosswalk. All drivers need to recognise the special safety needs of pedestrians, especially children,’ added Alderman Smith.