The family of the late Enock Mpianzi is suing the Gauteng Education Department for about R10 million for compensation for his death.
The former Parktown Boys High learner died after a makeshift raft he and his fellow pupils built, capsized in the Crocodile River at the Nyati Bush Lodge in the North West.
In a report released earlier this year, a forensic report by a private firm, Harris Nupen Molebatsi, found negligence on the part of some educators, including the principal, Malcolm Williams who was later placed on precautionary suspension.
Williams has since returned to the Johannesburg school. Among the findings was also that there were only five teachers to supervise over 200 learners at the camp.
In a briefing in Midrand on the readiness of schools in the province, Gauteng Education MEC, Panyaza Lesufi says the Department’s legal team will engage with the family.
“After we released the report on Enock Mpianzi, we received a letter from his legal representatives representing the family about a potential action that they will take. Indeed, we received the formal letter last week. It was addressed to the minister and copied to us as a province where the legal team of the late Enock Mpianzi, the legal firm and the family are demanding R10 million from the Department. We have indicated that we have no appetite to oppose this matter. So, we have allowed our legal team to continue to engage with the legal firm representing the family,” says Lesufi.
MEC Lesufi says the Department’s legal team will engage with the family:
‘MEC never offered a settlement’
Lawyers for Mpianzi’s family say Gauteng Education MEC has never offered them a settlement. The family is also suing the camp and the Parktown Boys High School, who had organised the trip.
Wikus Steyl who represents Mpianzi’s family says ” This matter’s been coming for most this year so far and I only had one meeting with the MEC and he hasn’t indicated at all that he’s looking at any form of settlement – that’s why we’ve had to go the route of issuing summons and litigating. But we welcome any discussion with the MEC. Government usually jumps on the bandwagon in the beginning when the cameras are there to show that they support the families and once the cameras leave they leave the families in the dark and they disappear and leave it up to lawyers to fight it out.”
Gauteng Education MEC, Panyaza Lesufi briefs the media on the reopening of schools on Monday: