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Pritt gets stuck into safety
29 January 2010

Taking care in crossing the road, with help from the scholar patrol

Scholar patrols at selected schools will be part of the new Pritt Scholar Patrol System, set up to keep learners safe.

CROSSING the road can be a dangerous business, and schoolchildren are particularly vulnerable as they race to school. Many schools try to beat the risks by having scholar patrols.

Keeping youngsters safe crossing Joburg's roads
Keeping youngsters safe crossing Joburg's roads
Now Henkel, the maker of Pritt, has joined forces with the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) to emphasise the importance of the scholar patrol. A partnership between the two was announced on 27 January at the Orlando Seventh Day Adventist Primary School in Orlando West, Soweto.

David Berman, the general manager of Henkel South Africa, explained his company's decision to get involved: "In acknowledgement of the popularity and support that Pritt enjoys in the schooling environment, Henkel wanted to be able to give something back that would have an impact on learners' lives beyond the classroom.

"Next to education, child safety is close to our hearts and the concept of a Pritt Scholar Patrol System provided us with a practical way to benefit the community. The Pritt Scholar Patrol System supplements the elements provided by the RTMC with the focus on road safety and emphasis on pedestrian safety and motorist visibility," he said in a statement.

Speaking at the announcement, Muthu Madzivhandila, the acting senior executive manager of the RTMC, said this public-private partnership was like a marriage ceremony, in which both parties played crucial parts in funding the initiative.

According to the member of the mayoral committee for transport, Rehana Moosajee, this partnership allowed the initiative to move beyond a "seldom-experience" into one which would allow people other options for road safety education. "We should now take road safety initiatives beyond pamphlets."

By starting young, children would learn the basics of road safety and would, in turn, teach their parents, she added.

She believed that most road safety problem lay with adults because they ignored the rules of the road by speaking on cellphones while driving, speeding and neglecting to wear seatbelts when driving, Moosajee said. "The city will soon be welcoming thousands of tourists who are used to stopping in front of zebra crossings, while drivers in the city ignore [them]."

Scholar patrols are operated by learners under the supervision of their teachers, in which they are responsible for ensuring their peers cross the road and get to the school gates safely.

Equipment to be used at schools under the new initiative has been selected by the RTMC and will increase the learners' visibility to motorists, which will increase safety. These safety enhancement items will be used in addition to the regulatory permanent signage and road markings.

"The kits are extensive and include pop-up banners, high visibility warning flags, safety bibs and caps as well as rain capes," said Berman.

Schools are analysed and recommended by the RTMC for participation in the Pritt Scholar Patrol System, and it ensures that the prescribed scholar patrol training and management is in place.

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