- The forensic report into the death of 13-year-old Parktown Boys' High School pupil Enock Mpianzi has been released
- The pupil had drowned during his first day of Grade 8 at a school camp at the Nyati Bush and River Break
- The report found that those responsible had all been negligent in the incident
A forensic report into Enock Mpianzi's tragic death at the Nyati Bush and River Break has been released.
Complied by Harris Nupen Molebatsi attorneys, the report probed the fateful incident that took the life of the Grade 8 pupil.
IOL reports that the principal, six teachers, the school and even the department of education had all been negligent in the death.
Briefly.co.za reported that school principal Malcolm Williams had been placed under precautionary suspension by Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi.
Now, the report recommends that disciplinary action should be taken against the Parktown Boys' High School head.
Williams is now facing the potential action against him that the report recommended for breaching school safety regulations. He was also found negligent in the way he handled the following:
- The roll calls and accuracy of the roll call lists
- The safety and care of pupils during the water exercise
- The issue of life jackets
- The lack of authorisation for the camp
- The overall responsibility for the safety of children during the camp
The report found that staff had left behind a roll call indicating who was on the trip. When a fresh one was received 11 children including the victim were not present:
“As a result of the incorrect list being used for the roll call, it was found that eleven learners were missing and after asking the learners and facilitators whether anybody was missing, it was assumed that the eleven missing learners were learners who had not attended the camp. This was an incorrect assumption."
It was then left up to the office to determine who was not on the trip and this led to the discovery that Enock was missing:
“Thereafter, it was business as usual and the Grade 8 learners were then taken out into the veld for their sleep-out. The next day, Thursday 16 January 2020, the learners at the camp continued with the activities as per the camp agenda. It was left to the enrollment office of the school to phone around to the parents of the missing eleven learners, referred to above, who eventually confirmed, after speaking to the parents of Enock Mpianzi, that Enock Mpianzi was definitely an attendee at the Nyati Camp.
Hours after Enock went missing, the search for him was launched explained the report:
“It was only then, at approximately mid-day of the day following the water exercise, on Thursday 16 January 2020, that searches and emergency procedures were activated and the alarm was sounded."
Out of the seven teachers present at the camp only one has been cleared of any wrongdoing
“It is found that the educators on the camp (excluding Mr de Jong), including the principal, Mr Williams, are in breach of this provision (Parktown Boys' High School Safety Policy to ensure the safety of pupils during activities) in that they did not supervise the water activity from beginning to end."
The report recomemded action against the teacher for failing to ensure the safety and control of the students:
“In fact, the educators arrived at the river after thirteen of the fifteen groups had already, or were busy, undertaking the water exercise. On the version of the seven educators who were at the camp who were interviewed, at the time they got down to the water exercise, they were only able to observe the last two groups going down the river. As such, it is found that those educators were in breach of the School Safety Policy."
The report also found that the school had been negligent, 'if not reckless' for allowing the students to enter the river without life jackets:
“In view of the issues and findings contained in the sections above in this report, in relation to the role played by the principal and educators of the school, we find that there is an element of contributory negligence in respect of the circumstances that, ultimately, led to the death of Enock Mpianzi. The SGB is found to be responsible in relation to the camp taking place without the requisite authorisation. In addition, given the history at the school in relation to the lack of supervision at school camps, which is so necessary, and giving consideration to the provisions of the PBHS Safety Policy, the SGB should have ensured that the school management placed the necessary emphasis on taking steps to ensure that the Grade 8 learners were supervised at all times. Similarly, the SGB should have made the appropriate enquiries to ensure that the safety of the learners at the camp received the necessary attention. Accordingly, the SGB is found to have acted negligently in relation to the failure to obtain authorisation for the camp and also for the inadequate oversight at the camp."
The Department of Education officials who had handled the initial request for the trip were also found to be negligent and action against them was recommended.
The Nyati Lodge was also found to be reckless and negligent over safety, the matter of life jackets and the route used during the activity:
"HNM recommends that Nyati should be held responsible, and liable, for its negligent and reckless actions that contributed to the circumstances that led to the death of Enock Mpianzi."
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