The Gauteng Department of Education has appointed a law firm to investigate and provide a detailed forensic report into the circumstances that led to the drowning of Grade 7 learner Latoya Temilton at the Wag ‘n Bietjie Resort in Witkoppen, during a school leadership camp.
Gauteng Education MEC Matome Chiloane said they had appointed Meshack Nchupetsang of Nchupetsang Incorporated Attorneys to provide a comprehensive report within seven days about what led to Temilton’s death by drowning.
He said the firm was “quite reputable” and had “vast experience”, having previously worked with the department when it provided a forensic investigation report into the selling of teacher posts in the Gauteng province.
“We have appointed a law firm to assist us to get to the bottom of this matter and we will action the recommendations unreservedly.
“We want facts to inform the decision we will be making. We are not here to attack anybody, we are here to hold people accountable, everybody knows their responsibilities.
“That is why we are bringing it to this level of the legal advice. When this report comes, our legal team will ensure we can action it,” said Chiloane.
It is believed learners had been swimming unsupervised when the young Temilton drowned, while some parents have told the media two young boy learners had to retrieved the body before a teacher performed CPR, in a desperate effort to save Temilton's life.
Nchupetsang said he would spend much of this week at Laerskool Queenswood consulting and interviewing learners, teachers, the principal and other members of the school’s management team.
He said he was on a fact-finding mission to uncover the allegations and the circumstances that led to the 12-year-old’s death.
Chiloane said once the report was presented, it would be adopted and those responsible would be dealt with.
“We need to know who didn't do their work. We need to know who moved their eye from the children so that the parents and the school community can find closure.
“We need to get to that point where everyone finds closure,” he said.
Chiloane said the report would be presented to the Temilton family first, before it was shared with the school community and the public.
The department’s chief director for legal services, Ntini Mashigo, said they were also expecting the legal team to work with the police, have access to post-mortems and video footage, if it was helpful to the investigation.
The school said it would cooperate with the investigation.
“This is not only about finding fault, but also about holistic development of the child. We want to encourage maximum supervision to avoid these kind of incidents,” said Mashigo.
The Temilton family was not present at the media briefing on Monday.
The 12-year-old Latoya was buried at the weekend.