Gauteng Education to appoint independent law firm to investigate drowning of Laerskool Queenswood learner

Latoya Temilton, 12, drowned at a school camp. Picture: Facebook/Women for Change

Latoya Temilton, 12, drowned at a school camp. Picture: Facebook/Women for Change

Published Jan 25, 2024


An investigation into the death of a Grade 7 learner from Laerskool Queenswood in Pretoria has been launched by the Gauteng Department of Education.

According to preliminary information, Latoya Temilton, 12, died while on an approved one-day excursion to the Wag ‘n Bietjie Resort in Witkoppen, Olifantsfontein.

It was reported that the learner drowned during the excursion.

Gauteng Education MEC Matome Chiloane’s spokesperson, Xolani Mkhwemte, said the police were currently investigating the circumstances surrounding the incident, with the district and school having visited the learner’s family to convey their condolences.

Mkhwemte said Chiloane had recommended that an independent investigation be conducted.

“The law firm will be introduced to the school management team and the learner’s family subsequent to their appointment.”

Meanwhile, the department said that a memorial service for Latoya had already been held at the school on Wednesday.

“We are devastated by this tragic loss. We convey our sincerest condolences to the bereaved family and school community at large. We are hopeful an independent investigation into this incident will assist to determine what exactly happened,” said MEC Chiloane.

While the department and police are still to proceed with investigations, radio personality Anele Mdoda has tweeted serious allegations about what transpired following the horrific incident.

In a series of tweets that started early today, Mdoda alleged that a parent had told her that following the incident, the school told the parents and pupils not to say anything to anyone and keep it under wraps.

“And I bet you the school is now trying to figure out who the parent was that spoke to us. More energy will be poured into that than securing therapy for those two boys who pulled a lifeless Latoya out the water. They will direct their energy to her and not making sure this never happens again,” Mdoda tweeted.

She further questioned the resort’s actions as even though there were two other schools at the facility at the time, they did not have any lifeguards or paramedics on site to deal with the large number of learners visiting.

Mdoda said that the school principal had in addition allegedly performed CPR on Latoya.

The Star