Rural school wins road safety competition

KING Zwelithini High School in Eshowe emerged as victor when it walked away with the prestigious National Participatory Educational Techniques competition award.

A 10-member team of pupils from KwaZulu-Natal was named the top group and received trophies, medals and a R30000 cheque for the school.

Efata School for the blind and deaf from Eastern Cape took second position and were awarded trophies, medals and a R20000 cheque.

Motswela High School in the Free State came third and was awarded a R15000 cheque, trophies and medals.

Other schools from six provinces received trophies and R2000 each for their outstanding efforts on road and environmental issues.

King Zwelithini High pupils coach and teacher Lungani Ndlovu said he was impressed by the dedication showed by the pupils in solving the problem that had been affecting their school for many years.

"It's very encouraging that though the school is in a rural area it emerged as winner against those from urban areas." Ndlovu said.

"As their coach, I am thrilled about the result."

He said what was inspiring was that the pupils' vision will save the lives of other children from surrounding schools.

"Our schools are close to a busy transport intersection. Many pupils have been knocked down by cars while trying to cross the road," he said.

The competition was sponsored by the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) in partnership with the KwaZulu-Natal department of transport and Global Road Safety Partnership (GRSP).

RTMC chief executive Ranthoko Rakgoale said that road traffic injuries were the leading cause of death among the 15- to 29-year-old age group.

"It's estimated that unless immediate action is taken, road traffic deaths will rise to the fifth leading cause of death by the year 2030, resulting in 2,4million fatalities a year," Rakgoale said.

He said road safety issues among the youth were now being taken seriously with more collaboration between various stakeholders.

Pupils had identified problems in their communities including the lack of pedestrian crossings, scholar patrols, humps and road markings, lack of warning signs cautioning motorists about blind and deaf pedestrians in the areas, speeding, unlicensed and under-aged drivers, lack of lamp poles for visibility at night, stray animals, and drinking and driving.