Editorial: Enock’s death could have been avoided

Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi. Picture: Archive.
Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi. Picture: Archive.

The parents of Enock Mpianzi must have been stunned when they found out the contents of the forensic report into his death.

The 13-year-old was swept away in the Crocodile River while attending a Grade 8 orientation camp at Nyati Bush and Riverbreak Lodge near Brits in North West on January 15.

The report, which was made public this week, found that both Parktown Boys’ High School and the campsite were liable for his death.

The levels of negligence detailed in the report are astounding.

The report found that the river was overflowing – a metre higher than normal – yet neither the camp nor the teachers ensured that pupils were wearing life jackets.

It said that teachers had no control – they were late for the camp activities and therefore could not know whether safety measures were taken.

Mpianzi’s death was not a freak accident or an act of God or pure bad luck, it was because basic precautions were not taken.

When the pupils started to fight the strong current, the teachers did not do anything to help or try to stop the activities.

The incident has shattered the faith of parents everywhere.

Five teachers at the school were implicated in the report.

These teachers are going about their lives, executing day-to-day responsibilities at the school. Are they being as attentive as they were on the day that Mpianzi died?

Mpianzi is the fifth child to die in the river since 2008.

Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi said Mpianzi’s death could have been avoided had the school done its due diligence.

And therein lies the rub: his death could have been avoided.

The level of care afforded to the pupils going on the camp was shocking.

Mpianzi’s death was not a freak accident or an act of God or pure bad luck, it was because basic precautions were not taken.

South Africa’s children deserve better.

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