Lesufi receives forensic report on Enock Mpianzi’s death

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Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi speaks at the Gauteng department of education's press briefing on the Parktown Boys' High drowning debacle, 24 January 2020. Picture: Tracy Lee Stark

In a statement on Sunday, Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi said he had received the report of a forensic investigation into the drowning of Parktown Boys’ High School pupil Enock Mpianzi.

The learner was swept away in a while on a Grade 8 camping trip in January.

“We will read it over the weekend and share same with the affected families, school community and Gauteng cabinet.

“Subsequently we will release the report in the next few days. Indeed we are proud of the legal team,” said Lesufi.

Last month, Lesufi suspended the principal of Parktown Boys’ and some district officials who, he said, “have a case to answer in respect of the processing of the application for the trip which should also have required that all the safety aspects of the application are adhered to”.

Lesufi said he was “emotionally traumatised” on the day Enock died.

“All of us want the truth,” he said.

Lesufi said indemnity forms were to be reviewed and all water activities at schools would now be approved via head office.

After a week of formal investigations, Lesufi confirmed last month that a preliminary report had revealed the school’s trip to the orientation camp where Mpianzi died was unauthorised.

According to reports, Mpianzi and a group of other pupils had been tasked with building a raft as part of a water activity shortly after they arrived at the Nyati Bush and River Break Lodge in North West.

While sailing their raft along the Crocodile River, the raft overturned and left boys scrambling for safety. Mpianzi had not made it back on to the raft and drowned.

Lesufi said the school governing body (SGB) of the school would also not escape scrutiny.

He added that although no teacher had yet been suspended, the department was working hard to get more information about whether the teachers were working under the SGB or the department, and what their roles and actions were during the trips.

Lesufi said this was because the department had limited disciplinary power when it came to teachers hired by the SGB.

The Citizen/Edited by Charles Cilliers