Combating fatal road incidents among children in rural areas

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Phoenix Durban

Tongaat Hulett recently visited Macambini Primary School to help combat fatal road incidents amongst children in rural areas.

Tongaat Hulett, the agricultural and agri-processing business, has embarked on an awareness campaign to help combat fatal road incidents among rural primary school pupils.

The Safety, Health and Environmental (SHE) project was brought to pupils around the Matikulu Mill area in Gingindlovu, north of KwaZulu-Natal, which is one of the communities Tongaat Hulett operates in.

The Macambini, Mfihlo, Ndulinde and Mvutshini Primary Schools were visited.

A total of 2, 608 pupils were made aware of various issues like road safety, the dangers of pulling sugarcane from moving trucks, the importance of being environmentally conscious, bullying and child abuse.

“We noticed an increasing number of incidents where children in these areas were pulling sugarcane from trucks that were passing by. Research has found that children under the age of 18 are twice as likely to be killed on South African roads as in any other part of the world. We knew it was important to start a campaign that would engage these young minds that are often in under-resourced areas on this and other pertinent issues that affect them,” said Nkonzo Mhlongo, socio-economic development manager at Tongaat Hulett.
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Children are easily influenced by what they are taught and what they see around them, according to Mhlongo. 

“If we as adults maintain a culture of doing good and doing what’s right, naturally they will shift in the same direction. It was encouraging to see the pupils share their fears and some of them were brave enough to ask how some of the things are done – be it keeping away from moving heavy vehicles,” Mhlongo added.

Lindokuhle Mazanga, principal of Mfihlo Primary School, said they are honoured that Tongaat Hulett brought this campaign to their school to teach pupils life lessons that we often take for granted. 

“The issues that were discussed are quite prominent in our community. So often children in rural areas are forgotten about so this is encouraging and we hope that similar campaigns will be conducted in other rural areas all over the country,” said Mazanga.
Bachazile Nyandeni, principal of Ndulinde Primary School, said, “We are so grateful for this campaign. It was important for our other pupils to be made aware of the dangers associated with pulling cane from moving trucks, as well as other issues such as personal hygiene.”

Nobuhle Manqele, principal of Mvutshini Primary School, said pollution was a huge problem in the area and was a major health hazard.

“It is important to raise a generation of environmentally-conscious children. The pupils were taught so many important lessons which we believe they will put into practice. We are grateful to Tongaat Hulett,” she said.

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