A forensic report into the drowning of Parktown Boys’ High pupil Enock Mpianzi has found Nyati Bush Lodge, school principal and teachers liable and negligent for his death.
Lawyer Peter Harris told the media in Johannesburg that the Grade 8 pupils on the fateful trip were not given life jackets.
He also said there was no accurate roll call for those who went to the school’s orientation camp in Brits, North West.
When calls were made the following day to parents if their boys were at the camp, all parents confirmed.
It was only at 12:45 on the Thursday that it was found that Mpianzi was actually missing.
“If the correct roll call list was used they would have discovered 18 hours earlier that he was missing at 17:30 the previous day,” said Harris.
Harris, a lawyer at Harris Nupen Molebatsi Attorneys in Dunkeld West, Johannesburg, released the damning report on Wednesday night.
“We find negligence and extreme recklessness on the part of the school … the headmaster, educators and the bush lodge,” said Harris.
The 13-year-old Mpianzi went missing while attending the camp.
His body was found washed down the Crocodile River after he drowned while participating in a water-based activity.
Harris said the school and educators were also negligent in fulfilling their duties such as making sure every child was accounted for.
Harris said the district officials and the school principal, Malcolm Williams, who is currently on suspension, should be the subject of a disciplinary hearing.
Harris said the investigation has also recommended that Gauteng Department Education should in future regulate all outings to school camps.
“It should not be something left to the school alone. As it is the schools who choose the camps and this should not be the case in future,” he said.
Harris said Mpianzi was the fifth person to die in water-based activities at the same camp.
Gauteng MEC for Education Panyaza Lesufi also briefed the media after the release of the Forensic Report into the Death of Mpianzi.
Lesufi said criminal charges were being laid already for those responsible for the boy’s death.
“Heads will roll. They have to,” said Lesufi.
“However, we cannot pre-empt if police are going to charge people. All the other four deaths were reported to the police but nothing was done. We are going to ensure that Mpianzi’s death does not go the same route,” he said.
Lesufi said government has established a team of lawyers who negotiate settlements on behalf of government.
“Our approach is that there must be a reasonable settlement on this matter especially when a life has been lost,” he said.
(Compiled by Charles Molele)