Hundreds of pupils representing some of Cape Town’s more than 200 scholar patrols attended a scholar patrol appreciation day at the Belhar sports centre on Thursday October 31.
Road safety authorities from three spheres of government teamed up to pay tribute to the pupils who don the scholar patrol uniform, said JP Smith, mayoral committee member for safety and security.
Of the 370 registered scholar patrols in the Western Cape, more than half (210) are in the Cape metropole. Pupils who attended the event were presented with certificates and medals as a token of appreciation for their dedication and service to the safety of their classmates.
“Scholar patrols play a massive role in ensuring the safety of some of our most vulnerable in society, as many young children walk to school and back daily, often having to cross very busy roads. With a road safety track record like ours in South Africa, we need every bit of help that we can get, and the scholar patrol programme, which first started nearly a century ago in the US, has been key in those efforts. It is virtually a certainty that our pedestrian fatality rate in particular would likely be higher without their daily presence,” Mr Smith said.
“This appreciation day is also a timely reminder to road users to support our scholars on patrol by obeying their instructions, treating them with respect and help to keep them safe too,” added Mr Smith.
The scholar patrol programme helps to ensure the safety of pupils and other road users, but also engenders respect for the law and an awareness of road safety.
It builds character in pupils who are part of their scholar patrol as the task demands responsibility, punctuality, dedication, commitment and teamwork.
The Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) is responsible for oversight of the overall implementation and functioning of scholar patrols countrywide, and the Western Cape Department of Public Works partners with the City of Cape Town’s Traffic Service and other local authorities in the province to train and monitor scholar patrols.