Today marks the official reopening of the Department of Community Safety's Provincial Traffic College, the Gene Louw College. Since the college was opened in 1989, it has grown, developed and improved on its service delivery. The efforts of the staff over the years have not only established the reputation of this fine traffic training college as one of South Africa best, but developed its reputation internationally.
The Gene Louw Traffic College is the only "A" grade traffic college in the Western Cape meaning that it can facilitate Traffic Officer training, Examiner for Driving Licences and Examiner of Vehicles training. The college also enjoys full accreditation with SASSETA, RTMC and with SAPS as an official institution for firearm training.
The College's Centre for Learning Excellence is the first traffic college in South Africa to pioneer an e-learning training programme to qualified traffic officers in the Western Cape. This will start in April 2013 and will form part of their Continuous Development Programme.
With the introduction of the Traffic qualification in January 2011 as well as the demand for additional training - and resultant need to grow the staff compliment, we urgently needed to upgrade the facilities to meet the desired requirements and to enable the college to maintain its accreditation with the respective professional bodies and to ensure service excellence. This much needed and now completed upgrade - which is Eco friendly - boasts modernised office spaces and furniture, boardroom facilities, a full gymnasium, library resource centre and breakaway rooms to mention a few of the improvements. I hope that you will all be afforded the opportunity to see the lovely new facilities at our College.
We would however, like to improve and expand even further, to overhaul and upgrade for a grade "A" K53 drivers test track and motor vehicle examiners facilities. These plans also include the erection of accommodation facilities for 100 learners which will drastically reduce the overall total cost to training.
Today we also remember those men and women in blue who have tragically passed before us. We remember them and their families and say thank you for their contribution to making Western Cape roads safer. Through the plaques and the wreath laid today we honour the memory of these brave officers who served to save lives on our roads.
This month, in our effort to continue to save lives on our roads, our officers will have a special focus on seatlbelts. Seatbelts save lives. This month, our officers have operational plans in place and will be checking that thousands of vehicle occupants are wearing seatbelts - for drivers and especially passengers in front and in the rear of vehicles. Over the festive season almost double the amount of passengers lost their lives in road crashes, compared with the number of drivers. We believe this special focus on seat-belts will contribute to lives saved on our roads.
The illegal use of cellphone for talking and texting while driving will also be under the lens.
I urge you to buckle up and be safe when driving, so that we all get, Safely Home.