13-year-old Enock Mpianzi, who tragically drowned at the Nyati Riverbreak and Resort during a Grade 8 camp on the first week of school. Picture: Itumeleng English/African News Agency (ANA)
13-year-old Enock Mpianzi, who tragically drowned at the Nyati Riverbreak and Resort during a Grade 8 camp on the first week of school. Picture: Itumeleng English/African News Agency (ANA)

The horror phone call Enock Mpianzi’s dad received from Parktown Boys' High

By Sihle Mlambo Time of article published Mar 5, 2020

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Johannesburg - Enock Mpianzi’s father accompanied the 13-year-old to Parktown Boys' High School ahead of a Grade 8 school camp at the start of the school year in January. 

Guy Intamba had helped his son prepare for the trip and had only paid the money required for the trip a day before the camp, on Tuesday, January 14, 2019. 

Enock had been accepted to the prestigious all-boys public school in November last year. On Wednesday, January 15, Enock, along with hundreds of other Grade 8 pupils from his new school headed for the Nyati Bush and River Break lodge in the North West.

But on Thursday morning, January 16, around 10 am, Enock’s father received a horror phone call from the school receptionist inquiring whether his son had attended the camp. 

“He told them that Enock had gone on the camp and that he had personally put him on the bus. He stated that the response was ‘Okay fine if we don’t call you back, it means everything is okay’,” a forensic report into Enock Mpianzi’s death read.

The report was compiled by Harris Nupen Molebatsi attorneys, who found that the principal, teachers, the school and the department of education, were all negligent in the 13-year-old’s death. 

Clearly, everything was not "okay", because Intamba received a second phone call about six hours later, this time, from school principal Malcolm Williams, who also inquired about Enock.

“Mr Williams asked him if he was with Enock. Mr Intamba replied with words to the effect of, ‘no, that he was not with Enock as Enock was at the camp’. 

“He was then told by Mr Williams that Enock was missing. Mr Intamba stated that when he was told this, he did not feel well and he gave the phone to Mr Salamawu who was standing close to him. He told Mr Salamawu to speak to the person on the other end of the phone as he did not understand what he was being told,” the report reads.

READ THE FULL REPORT:

Intamba then informed Enock’s mother, Anto, and shortly thereafter, the father went to Parktown Boys' High with about six relatives. 

Intamba and a few of his relatives later hopped onto a school bus and headed to the campsite in the North West province. They arrived around 10pm on Thursday.

“He stated that there was also a police van and policemen present. The family and relatives were taken into a room where a meeting was held and various introductions were made. 

“Mr (Lokoto) Kodiemoka [a relative] stated that he asked the principal, Mr Williams, what had happened and when Enock had gone missing and Mr Williams had said that he did not know and that they had been searching the river. 

“Thereafter three policemen came into the meeting, including one captain as well as the ‘president’ of the SGB and a pastor with a bible. Mr Kodiemoka stated that the SAPS told them that ‘the child’ (Enock) had gone missing and they had started to search but that the darkness had stopped them,” the report read.

The father was briefed and told Enock had taken part in a water activity in the river, and the principal had been informed by a pupil that Enock was on the camp and that the boy had sat with him during lunch. 

Deeply concerned, Intamba suggested a picture be posted on social media to inquire about Enock’s whereabouts, and the school obliged, with a teacher later sharing the picture on social media.

Later, one of the relatives had heightened blood pressure levels and was attended to by a nurse. 

Kodiemoka continued to question the principal, but he could not seem to get any answers. 

“Mr Kodiemoka stated that he had asked Mr Williams if he had seen Enock after the water activity, to which Mr Williams replied that he could not tell him more. He asked Mr Williams if he had gone with Enock to sleep in the bush and he said that he could not tell them more,” the report read. 

The father requested Enock’s bag, and when it arrived he noticed there were no wet pants in it and his pillow and blankets were still intact. 

He quizzed the principal again, but he had no answers. 

On Friday morning at about 7.30 am, Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi arrived and the pupils were seen leaving to climb on a bus back to Johannesburg. 

The father spoke to a pupil who Enock had earlier on Wednesday, pointed out to the father as a friend. 

The boy told the father Enock never made it out of the river. 

ENOCK’S BODY

“Mr Intamba spoke to the boy who seemed very shocked. Mr Intamba asked him if he had seen Enock and he said yes. 

“Mr Intamba asked the boy if Enock had come back with them after the water activity, to which the learner replied ‘no’. Mr Intamba then left the learner and walked back to his family,” the report read. 

The family went to the river, where they noticed the high water levels of the river and Enock’s father started shouting his son's name desperately until the police officers whisked them away, declaring the river a crime scene.

“The family then went back to the camp reception and at about 12 pm, MEC Lesufi came to them and said that a camera had spotted something in the water. He stated that at that point, everyone started crying. 

“Fifteen minutes later MEC Lesufi returned and said to the family that they had received confirmation that they had found a human body”.

Enock had drowned. He was identified in a body bag by his tearful parents who noticed a bit of a blood clot around his nose.  

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