Solid effort to protect children on road

The elected board members of the Grassy Park and Surrounds Scholar Association (GPSSA), pictured, from left, Rasheed Salie, grievance communications chairman, Robert Jonkers; assistant treasurer; Marina Abrahams, treasurer; Vicky Jones, secretary; Regan Hope, chairman; Deidre Velensky, assistant secretary.

The Grassy Park and Surrounds Scholar Association (GPSSA), a community- based, school pupils’ transport organisation, which aims to deliver the “safest transport for school children”, have called on more drivers to join them to form a stronger support structure.

This, among other things, was on the agenda of the organisation’s annual general meeting, held at Fairview Primary School, on Saturday December 3.

Secretary Vicky Jones said the initiative was formed after a group of drivers met at a meeting of Child Safe South Africa, at Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital earlier this year. Seeing the need to unite, they launched the GPSSA in August.

At Child Safe SA, drivers are offered training in First Aid as well as eye tests.

The drivers networked with other drivers and since then, membership has grown from 15 to 34. “We are welcoming more drivers to join us next year,” said Ms Jones.

She added that: “We are absolutely against scholar drivers or anyone who is out to hurt our children and will not condone any such illegal action. It is imperative that we focus on the safety of the children while transporting them from home to school and vica versa.”

Regan Hope, chairman of GPSSA, said they support other transport organisations for the sake of the safety of children.

For example he said: “We joined a picket at Muizenberg Magistrate’s Court, on Tuesday November 8, to oppose bail application of a 47-year-old taxi driver who is accused of raping a nine-year old girl.”

The Seawinds taxi driver, who transported primary school children to and from school, had allegedly been raping the girl who is from the same area, since February (“Driver charged with rape of nine-year-old”, Southern Mail, November 30).

Mr Hope said GPSSA’s members are drawn from Grassy Park, Steenberg, Plumstead, Wynberg, Diep River and Mitchell’s Plain.

Explaining how the drivers support each other, Mr Hope said they help if one of their members’ vehicles break down.

As an example, he cited an incident in which one of their drivers’ vehicles had had a flat tyre, and after communicating on their chat group, Mr Hope had been able to send someone to assist her.

“We want to give the parents peace of mind and make sure that the children are at school on time.”

Ms Jones added: “We have, together with other scholar transport associations joined up with Child Safe SA and Discovery Insure.

“We are planning to continue our relationship as our aim is to minimise the rate of road accidents involving children.”

For more information about GPSSA, call 082 531 9970.