Training organisation, Adventure Standards Africa, has voiced concerns around safety procedures after the death of a 13-year-old learner from Parktown Boys High in Johannesburg.

Enoch Mpianzi is believed to have drowned while attending a school camp near Brits in North West.

He was part of a group of about 200 grade 8 learners that participated in an activity that required them to build makeshift rafts and sail them.

It’s said that Mpianzi swept into the river when his group’s raft capsized in the Crocodile River. It was only discovered the next day that he was missing after which a search was launched and the incident reported to the police.

The police’s search and rescue team found his body on Friday, two days after the incident.

Director of Adventure Standards Africa, Professor Graeme Addison, says that the right procedures must be followed at all times.

“The right personnel, the right equipment, the right procedures should be followed. We’re not sure what procedures were followed, but, certainly, if the person was a trained professional, that person would know to give a safety talk, to equip the learners with life jackets, to have supervision throughout the event and to take action if somebody goes missing; which, of course, means you’ve got to count heads and you’ve got to act quickly. A person will drown in less than two minutes.”

Adventure Standards Africa says indemnity forms or informed consent agreements do not hold weight if there’s negligence while facilitating activities.

Professor Addison says indemnity and consent forms do not clear anyone guilty of negligence.

“You can get people to sign whatever you like, but what it eventually comes down to is whether the people participating in the activity were correctly looked after, whether safety procedures were in place and whether the people running the activity were qualified to do so. But neither the indemnity form nor the informed consent is going to clear anybody of negligence if they operate without safety precautions.”

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