Enock Mpianzi's mother Anto, surrounded by family members, sheds tears during the memorial service of the Grade 8 learner yesterday. Picture: Iumeleng English  African News Agency (ANA)
Enock Mpianzi's mother Anto, surrounded by family members, sheds tears during the memorial service of the Grade 8 learner yesterday. Picture: Iumeleng English African News Agency (ANA)

Forensic report into Enock Mpianzi drowning to be released Wednesday

By Sihle Mlambo Time of article published Mar 3, 2020

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Johannesburg - The Gauteng Department of Education will on Wednesday release a forensic report into the drowning of Parktown Boys High School’s Enock Mpianzi. 

Mpianzi, 13, drowned during a Grade 8 school camp at the Nyati Bush and River Break Lodge on the first day of school in January. 

He had been participating on a water activity when their makeshift raft capsized. At the time of his death, the school was criticised for its handling of the situation. The department had also said the trip was not authorized. 

It placed school principal Malcolm Williams on precautionary suspension and a number of officials at the district office, who had been involved with the school's application which had been submitted late last year, but never approved by the department.

The department confirmed the principal remained on precautionary suspension. 

Mpianzi's body was found more than a day after he initially drowned. It was reported that a pupil had reported to teachers during the camp that Mpianzi was missing, but he was allegedly ignored. 

Another allegation that was levelled at the seven teachers who were at the camp, was that they had been playing games when Mpianzi was drowning in the river. 

It was also alleged that they had failed to keep a record of the number of boys at the trip, as a ledger used to confirm the number of pupils on the trip, had been allegedly forgotten on a school minibus. 

The EFF, as well as the South African Human Rights Commission, were assisting the Mpianzi family with legal assistance after mounting claims of neglegence levelled at the school.

Gauteng Education spokesperson Steve Mabona said MEC Panyaza Lesufi would release the forensic report on Wednesday evening at Parktown Boys High School. 

What the report will show: 

At the time of instituting the forensic report, investigators were tasked by Lesufi to uncover the following: 

• Whether there are merits to the allegations and all the circumstances surrounding them.

• The conduct of any educator(s), school Management team and the principal in the reported case. 

• Whether the school followed a correct process in embarking on the Camp.

• Was the camp authorized, what procedure was followed by the school or SGB in deciding to take the learners to the camp. 

• What was the obligation of the camp/lodge in relation to the safety of learners in the premises and what guarantees did the camp have in ensuring the safety of learners.

• Does the school insurance cover this type of activity. 

• When did the educators and camp management realise that the learner was missing, and what procedure was followed by the school to report the missing learner. 

• Whether the matter was reported to the department, whether the department is liable in any way or not, whether there was any omission on the part of the department and what can the department do to address the problem.

• Whether there is a general problem of this nature at the school. The role, if any, of the SGB in this case.

• Whether counselling was provided or not and whether it is necessary to provide it now.

“Our primary goal and ultimate resolution remains to unearth the truth. We are motivated by the desire of helping all those who are affected by this tragedy to come to terms with this sad reality and find closure, but more importantly to ensure that incidents like this are avoided,” Lesufi said at the time.

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