Cape Town - A Lavender Hill school is in mourning after a Grade 11 pupil died in the school’s gym, shortly after stepping on to a treadmill.

Pupils and teachers at Lavender Hill Secondary received counselling on Tuesday and a memorial service for Mogamat Nazeer Pietersen, 17, was held at the school.

A picture of the teenager was placed on the wall outside the gym.

Mogamat’s grandmother, Farieda Lawrence, said he had had a heart condition.

Life sciences teacher Clifford Kiewit, who taught Mogamat for three years, said the teenager and a few other boys had gone to the gym after school on Monday afternoon. He had been on the treadmill for only about two minutes when he collapsed.

Paramedics could not revive him.

“We are just so sad. He had such a loving character,” said Kiewit.

He said pupils and teachers were devastated by Mogamat’s death.

Lawrence described her grandson, who lived with her in Retreat, as being “sporty” and said he loved the gym.

“He was very jolly. He liked music and watching videos… He was always there for his grandfather. We are really going to miss him.”

She said he had recently spoken to her about what he would like to do after matric: “Mogamat said he wanted to study IT. He said: ‘I want to be the one who will be there for everyone’.”

Bronagh Casey, spokeswoman for Education MEC Donald Grant, said the school gym formed part of a Mass Participation, Opportunity and Development (MOD) centre to provide sport and recreational facilities in selected communities after hours.

She said police were investigating and at this stage it was believed Mogamat had died of natural causes.

“Our metro south education district has arranged counselling for those affected by the tragedy. The minister has phoned the school to offer his condolences.

“This is a very sad and tragic incident and his family and friends are in our thoughts and prayers,” Casey said.

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Cape Argus