Press release -
100% safe driving record achieved by 2023 drivers of scholar transport programme
- 661 drivers in 2023 safely transported 13 000 children to and from school, upholding the programme’s excellent track-record of zero crashes since inception
- A total of R250 000 awarded to the best drivers this year
Cape Town, 30 November 2023 - The Discovery Safe Journey to School (DSJTS) programme recognised the outstanding scholar drivers of 2023 at the annual Excellent Driving Performers Awards held earlier today in Athlone. The Discovery Safe Journey to School programme is a partnership between the Discovery Fund, an arm of Discovery Limited’s corporate sustainability initiatives, and Afrika Tikkun. The objective of the programme is to ensure the safe transportation of learners, including children with special needs, between their homes to school, by encouraging good driving behaviour.
“Motor vehicle accidents are very unsettling to children and the drivers. We have been resolute in this partnership to ensure that we design a programme that is both sustainable and scalable to address this issue. That is, to reduce injuries and fatalities of children associated with road crashes when they travel to and from school,” explains Andronica Mabuya, Senior Sustainability Specialist at Discovery.
The programme is operating successfully with 661 drivers, with a coverage that spans the Cape Town City Bowl to Ocean View near False Bay, and to Worcester 141 km away. The average age of a driver on the programme is 47 years old and approximately a third of the drivers are female.
A journey to keep children safe
Marian Claite, Chief Operating Officer at Afrika Tikkun Services, explains that “travelling to school should not hinder a child’s right to quality education. There are multiple factors in our country that pose a barrier to attending school such as the unavailability of transport, location of school, unaffordability of transport, young children walking to school and the heightened concerns when they travel alone.”
The National Household Travel Survey (NHTS) for 2020, reported that about 10.1 million learners walked all the way to their educational institution in all nine provinces citing reasons that the school is nearby or close enough to walk from home, public transport was too expensive and transport not available.
“As an organisation, we are therefore delighted that through the DSJTS programme, over 13 000 children have been transported safely to and from school in 2023. The programme has also recorded no fatalities or collisions involving children since inception.”
Rewarding good driving behaviour
At the awards event, Christopher Hannie Domincan was named as the top driver and received a cash prize of R100,000. The two runners-up – Libuya Tabalaza and Pretty Devulana and the two most-improved drivers – Pieter Neethling Jan Kriel and Russel Dreyer - won cash prizes totalling R100,000. Ten drivers each won petrol vouchers.
The top performing drivers in DSJTS programme maintained exceptionally high driving performance scores throughout the year, completed the first aid and defensive driver training and importantly were compliant throughout the period in which their performance was measured. Performance scores are based on four driving behaviours - namely accelerating, braking, cornering and speeding – and measured using through Discovery Insure’s Innovative telematics software.
“It is rewarding to see the commitment from the scholar drivers in addressing a societal issue by making education easier to access by getting children safely to school. With a track record of 100% safe driving, it is clear that partnerships like these provide as an excellent enabler of safe and reliable learner transport. This also enable us to create a nation of reliable drivers and to meet the National Development Plan’s road safety objectives,” says Discovery Insure CEO, Robert Attwell.
To prioritise the safety of children and drivers, Discovery Insure’s telematics technology is installed in motor vehicles so that scholar transporters can track their vehicle for easy recovery. They also have access to Impact Alert, a Discovery Insure service that contacts emergency services in the event of an accident.
In collaboration with the Western Cape Department of Mobility, drivers will also be encouraged to participate in the Shayela Program, offered by Guud, from 02 to 07 December 2023. The Shayela Program provides:
- PDP (Professional Driving Permit) Authentication: Verifies the legitimacy of the driver’s PDP for legal compliance.
- Health Status Assessment: Thorough medical evaluation to access driving fitness.
- Documentation Support: Issuing PDP license applicants with the National Medical Certificate, a required document for all PDP license applications.
- Sustained Wellness: Continuous health and optometry services for peak driving performance.
In addition, scholar drivers based in rural areas will receive first aid packs for their vehicles (a requirement of the transport regulations for anyone transporting passenger).
“At Discovery, our investment in the DSJTS initiative is about keeping our children safe on the road as a number one priority while also rewarding those in the community for helping us realise our purpose of making people healthier. We hope to expand the programme in recruiting more drivers and continue to create a tangible social change through strategic partnerships,” says Mabuya.
Note to editors:
How Safe Journeys to School works
- If a scholar driver wants to take part in the project, they need a valid public driving permit (PDP) and an operating licence if they own the vehicle that they use to transport scholars to and from school. Drivers will also have to commit time to take part in project activities such as free first-aid and defensive-driver training sessions.
- Working with Discovery Insure partners, C-Track and Tiger Wheel & Tyre, the tracking device that measures driving behaviour is installed in each vehicle, which undergoes an inspection to make sure it is roadworthy before being included in the programme
- Drivers are measured and recorded by the telematics software, to produce a weekly score for each drive.
About Discovery Limited
Discovery Limited is a South African-founded financial services organisation that operates in the healthcare, life assurance, short-term insurance, banking, savings and investment and wellness markets. Since inception in 1992, Discovery has been guided by a clear core purpose – to make people healthier and to enhance and protect their lives. This has manifested in its globally recognised Vitality Shared-Value insurance model, active in over 40 markets impacting over 40 million lives. The model is exported and scaled through the Global Vitality Network, an alliance of some of the largest insurers across key markets including AIA (Asia), Ping An (China), Generali (Europe), Sumitomo (Japan), John Hancock (US), Manulife (Canada) and Vitality Life & Health (UK, wholly owned). Discovery trades on the Johannesburg Securities Exchange as DSY.
About Afrika Tikkun
Every child and youth has the right to a better life. It is also every child's right to nourishing food, warmth and a good education. Afrika Tikkun, a non-profit organisation, aims to give disadvantaged children the resources they need to thrive by offering Cradle to Career developmental programmes and a fully integrated social services programme for children in need.
They also place youth development at the centre of their service.