Enoch Mpianzi: Educators found guilty of negligence
The highly anticipated investigation report has finally been released following the circumstances surrounding the death of a grade 8 learner, earlier this year.
Enoch Mpianzi died in January after a makeshift raft that he and his fellow classmates had built capsized in the Crocodile River at the Nyati Bush Lodge in the North West.
The investigation found the educators, who had accompanied the children to a Grade 8 orientation camp at the time of the tragedy, to have been negligent for failing to call off the river activity when they realised that learners had not been issued with life jackets.
The Nyathi Bush Lodge has also been found guilty of negligence after the findings reported that the camp only had 12 life jackets.
The Gauteng Department of Basic Education appointed firm Harris Nupen Molebatsi to uncover the circumstances surrounding the tragedy.
According to the Harris Nupen Molebatsi firm, when Anton Knoetze, the owner of the camp, was asked why they didn’t issue out life jackets, he said that they only issue out life jackets for people who go down the river and because this incident took place in shallow water, so they didn’t think that the learners 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 and 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,” he added.
Criminal charges will be laid against Parktown Boys High school educators that were present at the orientation camp.
The report has also recommended that the Nyati Bush Lodge and River Breakaway in the North West be held liable for the dangerous conditions at the orientation camp, as Mpianzi was the fifth child to die at the camp.
Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi said that his department is working to have the Nyati Bush Lodge blacklisted as a venue for school activities.
“There will be no school from Gauteng that will go there and that is why I am speaking to the Minister so that we can have this blacklisted. But we will act and I think as a department we would have failed in our responsibilities if we can’t act and act decisively,” said Lesufi.