No foul play in student drowning

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Nobody can be held responsible for the drowning of first-year student Thabang Makhoang at the Potchefstroom Campus of the North West University in January, an investigation has found.

North West University spokesman Louis Jacobs said this was the finding of an independent investigation by advocates Lourens de Koning SC and Vusi Pikoli into the death of Makhoang on January 21.

“No foul play was involved in the death and no person or entity could be held accountable for causing the death through negligence or otherwise,” Jacobs said on Wednesday.

The probe found that Makhoang’s drowning was a freak accident which took place during an event arranged solely for fun and team-building. There was no form of initiation during the incident.

Jacobs said it was found that even though trained, professional lifeguards were not on duty during the incident they would most likely not have been of any help.

He said Makhoang had not appeared to be in distress to any of the many people deployed around the pool for safety.

They included six members of the Potchefstroom campus crisis line and counselling centre, six members of the Potchefstroom campus emergency services, 28 peer helpers and 25 members of the reception and introduction committee.

Two ER24 ambulances and six to seven staff members were also in close proximity to the swimming pool.

Jacobs said the university council discussed the report on March 30 and decided that its recommendations be revisited and expanded.

The university would also continue with its outreach programs at the Reabona Secondary School and in the Tswelelang community.

Makhoang’s family would also be further supported.

Jacobs said the findings of the investigations and the council’s decisions were presented and explained in person to Makhoang’s mother by Potchefstroom Campus Rector Herman van Schalkwyk this week. – Sapa


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