Today, the City of Johannesburg, with Volkswagen South Africa and Qhubeka, distributed 98 bicycles to members of the Community in Alexandra, Johannesburg. Qhubeka is a charity that moves people forward with bicycles, improving their access to schools, jobs and clinics.
The bicycles are being distributed as part of the City’s bicycle programme in the region. Previously, more than 200 bicycles have been distributed to schoolchildren in two Alexandra schools through the same bicycle distribution partnership between the City and Qhubeka.
As well as 28 bicycles for schoolchildren at Kwa-Bhekilanga Secondary School and East Bank High School, today’s distribution also includes 30 bicycles for health workers and 40 bicycles for community policing forum (CPF) volunteers.
The bicycles will help the schoolchildren to travel more easily to and from school, improve the CPF volunteers’ ability to do visible security patrols in the area, and enable the healthcare workers to service more households every day. There are currently 86 health workers at the only five clinics in Alexandra, and each healthcare worker therefore services 250 households in the community to care for the infirm, undertake health promotions and education, and assist with medical defaulter tracing.
The bicycles have been funded through a Rand-for-Rand matching mechanism, whereby corporate donors (in this case, Volkswagen SA) match funds from CoJ. Volkswagen SA is a long-term Qhubeka supporter and the company has funded more than 2 226 bicycles into 24 schools throughout South Africa that are part of Qhubeka’s education programmes.
“We are piloting for the first time in Johannesburg the distribution of bicycles to healthcare workers. I am personally very excited about this and how health care workers will not only be more accessible to their community clients but also demonstrate how bike riding can contribute to healthier lifestyles,” says MMC Makhuba, MMC for Transport in the City of Johannesburg.
“For the City of Johannesburg, we see today’s bicycle distribution as the start of a sustainable and growing programme in Alexandra. In the next month we will be completing the cycling and walking pathway between Alexandra No 3 Square and Sandton CBD including a dedicated walking and cycling bridge over the M1 at Grayston off ramp and we would like to see increasing numbers of Alexandra residents using the bridge to cycle to work.”
“Volkswagen’s vision is to provide sustainable mobility for Africa through German Engineering and a South African heart and this programme fits in with that philosophy and shows our human side,” says Thomas Schaefer Chairman and Managing Director of Volkswagen Group South Africa.
“Through partnerships like this one, we continue to see fresh examples of how bicycles can help to transform communities,” says Tsatsi Phaweni, Executive Director at Qhubeka. “We are very pleased to be partnering with CoJ and Volkswagen SA and appreciate their commitment to improving the lives of South Africans with bicycles. With a bicycle, people access education, healthcare, security and work opportunities more easily. Today’s distribution is an example of some of the ways bicycles can change lives.”
A local bicycle mechanic in Alexandra has previously received training and received a Qhubeka Bicycle and access to the Qhubeka spare parts supply chain. This will help to ensure that the bicycles distributed into Alexandra will be maintained and remain useable well into the future. Funding raised by the annual Freedom Ride that takes place in Johannesburg will be used for training more mechanics as part of the City’s bicycle programmes.