Michael Komape's pit toilet death left his siblings reeling

2017-11-16 19:40
Michael Komape. (Supplied)

Michael Komape. (Supplied)

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Polokwane - The siblings of Michael Komape, a 5-year-old boy who fell into a pit toilet in 2014, were left traumatised and in disbelief in the wake of his death.

This emerged during the testimony of his elder brother Lucas, in the Limpopo High Court in Polokwane on Thursday.

Lucas was at high school when Michael began his short-lived primary school education.

He was returning from school on the afternoon of January 20, 2014, when he was informed that Michael had died and that his body was trapped in the ageing pit toilet at Mahlodumela Primary.

Lucas rushed to the scene to find his devastated mother already there, while his father James sat helplessly near the toilet.

READ: 'It still hurts me,' says father of son who drowned in school's pit toilet

"When I got to the school I saw my mother crying," he recalled.

He could not see his brother as he was barred by police.

The family is demanding that the government be held responsible for the death of the boy.

They argue that they have suffered trauma and psychological harm as a result of the basic education department's negligence.

Lucas told the court that the day of his brother's death was a turning point in his life and he observed his sibling's life change for the worse.

"Everywhere I go in the village, people were talking about a child who died in the toilet. It traumatised [me], I did not want to talk or hear it," said Lucas.

ALSO READ: Mother tells court how she found her son dead in school toilet

His testimony was similar to that of his sister Lydia Komape, who earlier testified that she struggled to comprehend what had happened.

"I could not believe that he was dead," she said.

The advocacy group, Section27, helped the family lodge the civil claim after it successfully secured psychological intervention.

Read more on:    section27  |  polokwane  |  education

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