TAXI INDUSTRY UNITES FOR CHILD PROTECTION WEEK IN KIMBERLEY

0
25

[Chairperson of the Kimberley Taxi Association, David Lebone]

By Precious Mupenzi

  • The launch of Child Protection Week at the Mittah Seperepere Convention Centre in Kimberley saw the local taxi industry, led by the Kimberley Local Transport Association and chairperson David Lebona, join various stakeholders to emphasise the importance of collaborative efforts in combating child abuse, neglect, and exploitation.
  • David Lebona highlighted the crucial role the taxi industry plays in child protection, stressing that taxi drivers and operators are more than just transport providers—they are guardians who ensure the safety and well-being of children during their daily commutes.
  • The Kimberley taxi industry is dedicated to maintaining taxi ranks as secure and welcoming environments for children. Lebona expressed concern for children avoiding home due to abuse and emphasised the industry’s commitment to making taxi ranks safe havens, thereby supporting the broader agenda of child protection and contributing to a safer, nurturing community.

At the Child Protection Week Launch held in Mitta Seperepere, Kimberley on Saturday, 4 May 2024, the local taxi industry stood in solidarity with the initiative, underscoring their pivotal role in ensuring the safety and well-being of children. In a heartfelt display of community spirit, the Kimberley Local Transport Association, led by its dedicated chairperson David Lebona, joined various stakeholders to emphasise the critical importance of collaboration between families, communities, government, community-based organisations, and development partners in the fight against child abuse, neglect, and exploitation.

Speaking on the sidelines of the launch of Child Protection Week, Lebona’s interview with DSD News resonated deeply as he highlighted the essential role the taxi industry plays in child protection. 

“Every day, we transport millions of South African children to their schools,” Lebona stated, his voice filled with conviction. “We see their faces, hear their stories, and sometimes witness the challenges they face. As drivers and operators, we are more than just transport providers; we are guardians of their journey.”

The taxi ranks, often bustling hubs of activity, serve as crucial safe spaces for children. The commitment of the Kimberley taxi industry to maintain these areas as secure and welcoming environments is a testament to their dedication to child safety. By ensuring that children travel safely to and from school, the taxi industry contributes significantly to the government’s broader agenda of child protection.

“Some children spend long hours at the taxi ranks after school,” Lebone said, his voice tinged with concern. “It’s heartbreaking to see that sometimes they are avoiding going home because of abuse or other troubling situations. We recognise these silent cries for help and feel a deep responsibility to meet these children halfway. Our mission is to ensure that taxi ranks are safe havens for the entire community, especially for these vulnerable children. We absolutely do not condone situations where children resort to substance abuse or linger in dangerous corners. Instead, we strive to create a supportive, secure environment where they can feel protected and cared for.”

Lebona’s words echoed the sentiment of the entire community: protecting children is a collective responsibility. The taxi industry, with its unique position and daily interaction with countless young lives, plays an indispensable role in this mission. Their support for Child Protection Week is not just a symbolic gesture but a reaffirmation of their ongoing commitment to safeguarding the future generation.

As the event concluded, it was clear that the partnership between the taxi industry and other stakeholders was a beacon of hope, shining brightly on the path toward a safer, more nurturing environment for all children. The collective efforts demonstrated that when communities unite with purpose and passion, they can create lasting change and protect the most vulnerable among them.

 

Leave a reply