North West police say the matter of Parktown Boys High learner Enoch Mpianzi has been referred to provincial prosecutors for a decision on whether or not to charge the resort where he drowned during a school camp earlier this year.
A forensic report released earlier this week recommended that disciplinary action be taken against some teachers and the school principal. It revealed that recklessness and negligence by both the Nyati Bush Lodge and educators contributed to the 13-year old Mpianzi’s drowning.
North West Police Spokesperson Adele Myburgh says no one was held liable for three previous deaths at the resort.
“We had three other inquest dockets investigated at the Nyathi Bush Lodge that was over a period, from 2002 up until 2010, and the last incident obviously this year in 2020. So, yes, I can confirm that there was a case opened, and the other three cases the court made a decision that the children died due to drowning and that no person could be made liable for their deaths,” says Myburgh.
Parents expressed shock after release of Enoch’s report:
The report found that the educators who accompanied the learners on a camp at the Nyati Bush Lodge were negligent and failed to fulfill their duties.
It recommends that disciplinary action be taken against them and the principal, Malcolm Williams, who has been placed on suspension.
Mpianzi died after a makeshift raft, he and his fellow pupils had built, capsized in the Crocodile River. These parents are not impressed.
“It hurts me that when teachers leave with children, they end up neglecting the children. We assume that when they leave with their teachers, they are safe and are supervised because when they enter the water, whose mistake is it? It’s the teachers’! It doesn’t sit well with me. I’m a parent to a child,” says one parent.
Another one adds, “Sometimes the mistake is government’s. The government must hire people accordingly; not just hire anyone to be a teacher. Government is also to blame.”
“The teachers are to blame because if they are travelling with children, they have to ensure that the children are safe and there are no problems. As a parent, when you pay school fees, you assume they take care of everything as well as safety,” insists another concerned parent.
Release report of Enoch Mpianzi:
Report finds that Parktown Boys’ High School staff, including the headmaster, must be held accountable:
Lawyer Peter Harris has presented the report commissioned by the Gauteng Department of Education on Wednesday night. The report has been received by Mpianzi’s family as well as the school and union representatives.
The report has described the Nyati Bush Camp’s version of the drowning as a ‘disgraceful falsehood’.
Harris says the report is clear.
“So, we find that there’s negligence on the part of the school for not having the accurate and correct roll call list of all attendees at that camp, and that the relevant educators should be held responsible and be charged and that includes the headmaster as the ultimate Commander in Chief or the CEO of the school. The fact is that, if the correct roll call list had been used they would have realised 18 hours earlier that a boy was missing”
The report also found that teachers were negligent for failing to call off the river activity when they realised the learners had not been issued with life jackets.
“Our finding is that they quite clearly. They should have been issued life jackets. When we put that to Knoetze of the camp, he said ‘we only issue life jackets for people who go down the river and because this took place in shallow water, we didn’t think that they should have life jackets’. But we know it didn’t take place in shallow water. We know it took place in the river. So, we asked him how many life jackets he had at the camp? He said 12. Now there were 204 learners. We find that the camp was reckless in the extreme in allowing boys to go into the river in those conditions.”