Drivers improve road safety

From left are secretary Vicky Jones, assistant secretary Deidre Velensky, treasurer Marina Abrahams, assistant treasurer Robert Jonkers, chairman Regan Hope, grievance communications chairman Rasheed Salie and disciplinary chairperson, Alan Kotshoba.

The Grassy Park and Surrounds Scholar Association (GPSSA) is celebrating their first anniversary.

The initiative was formed when a group of drivers met at a gathering held by Child Safe South Africa at Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital early last year.

The drivers pledged to transport pupils to and from school safely and on time.

GPSSA secretary Vicky Jones said through the association, the drivers have a support structure to help one another.

“Before we started we never knew each other, we knew the faces so if a van broke down on the road there would be no assistance but now there’s a relationship built where we have a chat group where one will say for example that their van has just overheated, is there anybody who can help? And you would just hear the comebacks.

“One of the members had been without a vehicle for a while but another member stepped in and lent their vehicle, this is something that would never happen,” said Ms Jones.

Driver Yvonne Slinger said the safety of the children is their priority.

“Once the parents put them into the Kombi, they put the responsibility into your hands and we take care of them; if they get hurt they come crying, you have to see that you have a first aid kit and then a sweet in order to cheer them up. You are the nurse, mommy and even the social worker as these kids come with issues,” she said.

The organisation started with just 15 members but they are now a family of 40 members who come from various areas including Grassy Park, Plumstead, Steenberg, Wynberg, Diep River and Mitchell’s Plain.

GPSSA chairman Regan Hope is urging more drivers to join them.

Members need a Professional Driving Permit (PDP), a valid roadworthy operators disk and the vehicle has to be licensed.

Child Safe ensures that an eye test is done, a tracker is installed in the van and an advanced defensive driving course is undertaken to meet the requirements of becoming a safe driver.

Mr Hope does not want the City to refer to them as just a taxi association because they are securing the next generation’s safety.

To mark the anniversary, celebration was held at Fairview Primary School in Grassy Park where GPSSA members gathered for a discussion around the organisation’s successes over the past year and later a feast was enjoyed by all.