Walking Bus for Fisantekraal

Community Safety MEC Dan Plato and Ward 105 councillor Ruan Beneke with pupils from Trevor Manuel Primary School.

The Walking Bus, which ensures that pupils are walked safely to school and back, was officially launched in Fisantekraal last week.

Community Safety MEC Dan Plato walked pupils to Trevor Manuel Primary School and Fisantekraal High School, with walking bus members on Thursday October 19.

The Department of Community Safety started the project in May last year and has since launched more than 50 walking buses at about 180 schools in vulnerable communities across the province.

Mr Plato said the initiative was an example of a pro-active community that knew that safety was everyone’s responsibility.

“Active citizenship, such as participation in the Walking Bus initiative by parents or participation in a neighbourhood watch, is a necessary step in rooting out crime from within a community. Safety volunteers in any capacity have the potential to unite an entire community behind a common cause and take back ownership of a community from criminals.”

Mr Plato told community members to take charge of their streets, children and schools. He said he had seen a lot of shebeens and youth loitering on street corners during his walk-about and he said he was concerned about the use of alcohol and drugs in the area.

He said he would make a plan to come back to Fisantekraal with members of the SAPS Youth Desk to focus on the youth.

Mr Plato spoke about two recent incidents where pupils had been stabbed in Delft and Manenberg. He said while Fisantekraal’s crime statistics were lower than those two areas, it was also important to concentrate on the smaller communities.

He said the Walking Bus had been playing a major role in schools across the province, with members being the eyes and the ears of the community.

Ward 105 councillor Ruan Beneke thanked the MEC for bringing the project to Fisantekraal, saying it was important to show visibility in the area.

“Now we can show, that here we take care of ourselves and our community,” he said.

Mr Plato said the success of the Walking Bus depended on the community volunteers’ commitment to helping to increase safety in the area.

The department was prepared to help with logistical support, training and equipment.

“We will be checking in regularly on the success of all the Walking Buses to help ensure that the programmes are sustainable,” he said.