Walking bus on the cards for Lansdowne

A Walking Bus launched in Mitchells Plain.

Plans for a Walking Bus programme to protect schoolchildren in Lansdowne, were discussed by councillors, cops and principals at Windsor High School last week.

The initiative is overseen by the Department of Community Safety and relies on parents volunteering to walk pupils to and from school.

Ward 60 councillor Mark Kleinschmidt said the plan was in response to pupils from Groenvlei and Windsor high schools and Portia and York Road primary schools being robbed of cash and cellphones.

According to the Department of Community Safety, more than 80 walking buses have been started near various schools in the province over the past year and there are plans to set up another 25 in September and October.

Parents in the programme undergo police-clearance checks and are trained in first aid and traffic safety.

The walking bus is expected to draw on support from the police, neighbourhood watches, schools, the community police forum and the community at large.

“We are supportive of any community structure that will aid in fighting crime, and the police will be behind them by any means necessary to fight crime,” said Sergeant Nkululeko Mnyaka, of Lansdowne SAPS.

Kevin Velensky, principal of Portia Primary, said some of their pupils came from as far as Khayelitsha, so it was important for the school to ensure they could get to and from class safely.

“Having people in the area who can accompany these kids to the bus stop and safety drop-off points can ensure their safety because we had a few issues with kids being robbed and mugged,” he said.

Lansdowne CPF chairman Rafique Foflonker welcomed the idea of the walking bus in the area.

“The kids who walk on the troubled routes will benefit, and the parents will be pleased as well, he said, adding that they would “support it in any way that we can”.

The plan is to start recruiting parents for the walking bus by Friday September 7 and once the time and place for the first one has been decided, pamphlets will be handed out at participating schools, notifying parents.