‘That empty spot at the table haunts us’
“My mother always does breakfast for everyone. The table is packed and there are always four children around. But now there are only three. That empty spot at the breakfast table haunts us all,” said a tearful Lucia Seboko.
“Everybody screams from their own corner. There are tears and loud cries at the breakfast table every day.”
For the past week, Lucia Seboko and her family have been struggling to come to terms with the untimely death of her son Keamogetswe “Keamo” Seboko.
The youngster’s naked, lifeless body was discovered at the bottom of a swimming pool at Laerskool Bekker Primary in Magaliesburg last Wednesday .
It is alleged that Keamogetswe was swimming at the school’s hostel pool with around 60 other learners during school hours when he went missing.
His body was discovered over half an hour later after the rest of the children had left the swimming pool area.
According to police, the 12-year-old’s swimming shorts and underwear were also found floating in the pool.
The learners were allegedly under the supervision of a caretaker from the school when Keamogetswe went missing.
While the school insists that Keamogetswe had accidentally drowned on his first day at his new school, his mother suspects foul play.
When she visited the mortuary last Friday to receive the results of her son’s post-mortem, she discovered that he had several cuts on his body, including a cut beside his lip on the right cheek, a cut across the back of his neck, as well as a cut on top of his head.
Seboko believes something sinister had happened.
The post-mortem also found that Keamogetswe had several litres of water in his stomach, which is why Seboko believes her son may have been held under water for a long period.
Keamogetswe was also a strong swimmer, according to his mother. He learnt to swim at the tender age of 4.
A distraught Seboko said the family had been battling to get through each day following the tragedy.
“Our family doctor comes and sees us every second day. We are given some form of tranquillisers or sleeping medication to help us sleep and get us through the day.”
Seboko adds that her family’s pain have been made worse by the fact that the school continues to conceal the circumstances around her son’s death.
“These past few days have been difficult, to say the least.”
“I went to the school on Wednesday hoping to come back with something concrete. I went there and I asked the principal if I could speak to the teacher that was watching the children on that day. I was hoping to get a different answer, because everybody is battling and I just needed to go get some answers.
“Indeed, the teacher was called and I spoke to him. He maintains he was there and he still maintains he didn’t see anything.”
Seboko says the school has been unhelpful.
“From the get go, all the school has told us is that they don’t know anything.
"For a teacher, who was deployed at the pool, to tell me in my face he didn’t see anything, is just the most insensitive thing.”
The Seboko family say that the Gauteng Department of Education has been very helpful, and that MEC Panyaza Lesufi visited twice this week.
“The MEC promised to do an investigation, and I think they acted very swiftly because the firm employed to do the private investigation started doing their work immediately.”
The department has confirmed that action will be taken against the leadership of Laerskool Bekker Primary following the tragic incident.
“The family was visited and we extend our sincere condolences to them,” Lesufi told the media yesterday at a press conference.
“Independent law firm Harris Nupen Molebatsi Attorneys will give us a preliminary report next week and we will make it public.
“I assured the family this morning that we will also act against the leadership of this school, and we will leave no stone unturned to get information from those who were supervising the children.”
Lesufi also confirmed that he would be in attendance at Keamogetswe’s funeral today.
The learner’s memorial will take place at Eldocrest Primary School in Eldorado Park, after which he will be laid to rest at the Klipspruit West Cemetery in Soweto.
“All our investigation teams have been told to move with speed. South Africans want answers and they want answers now,” Lesufi said.
Meanwhile, Keamogetswe’s aunt Tiny Seboko says the family will fight until they get justice for his death.
“I think we owe it to Keamo to fight.
"I personally am the one who convinced everybody in my family to send Keamo to this school, so for me it’s a personal fight for justice, which I owe to him. The youngest in my family is 5-years-old and the oldest is 103-years-old. I think I owe them an explanation.”