The Junior Traffic Training Centre (JTTC) has made a debut in Khayelitsha, where six local schools are expected to benefit from the programme.
The JTTC is one of the available means to educate children about road safety, through a simulated road environment where children can learn to use roads safely and responsibly without being exposed to life-threatening traffic hazards.
The launch comes after a lack of infrastructure (such as adequate pedestrian crossings, too few sidewalks, and a poor drainage system) that put pedestrians, especially school children, in danger.
The roads are populated by vehicles, pedestrians and street vendors, creating high traffic volumes and often leaving learners to walk in the roads as the sidewalks are occupied. One road doubles as a taxi route, worsening the situation.
To increase awareness and bring prevention, the Western Cape Department of Transport and Public Works: Road Safety Management has partnered with ChildSafe South Africa, a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) which focuses on childhood injury prevention, to launch the JTTC at Sakumlandela Primary School (one of the six Khayelitsha schools).
"As a directorate, our main aim is to do road safety education, so [the JTTC is] one of the tools we use to educate learners about road safety and how to use the road safely and responsibly," said one of the members who helped set up the programme.
They continued, saying the JTTC aligns with the school's curriculum, which has the aim of teaching good safety habits to primary school learners under the age of ten, particularly due to the high rate of accidents involving children that have taken place in the area.
Sakumlandela Primary School principal, Makhosandile Dyum, said: “From today they will learn what to do before they cross. I have close to 1 100 pupils and (majority of them) walk to and from school. We have a number of schools in Bangiso Drive and close to 6000 pupils walk to and from school, (which makes a project like this very important)."
Director of Road Safety Management for the Western Cape Department of Transport of Public Works, Willie van der Merwe, said child safety is a priority as pedestrians have been identified (as one) of the biggest fatalities in South Africa.
Related: Traffic Officer Learnership