I did not send my son to school to die - Michael Komape's dad

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Michael Komape. (Supplied)
Michael Komape. (Supplied)

Polokwane - The father of Limpopo schoolboy Michael Komape, who died after falling into a pit toilet in January 2014, said government officials should have stepped in to help the family because they had not thought of saving money to bury his child.

"They should have helped. My son was going to school. I did not send him to die,” James Komape testified during a civil case in the Limpopo High Court on Wednesday.

James and his family dragged the government to court demanding millions in damages following their son's death.

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

The five year-old boy, optimistic about his future, had just enrolled in Grade R at the Mahlodumela Primary school when he fell into the toilet and never made it home again.

During his second day in the witness box, James vehemently refuted the argument by the Basic Education department’s counsel Simon Phaswane, that he ought to have approached the department or school officials if he thought they were not forthcoming with help.

James said he saw no reason as he was the victim.

"I did not approach them because I thought they will be the ones to approach me since I was the one who was robbed of my son".

READ:  No apology from department for death of boy who drowned in pit toilet

He accused the department of failing to contribute or release any aid during their bereavement. He also did not get an apology.

 But Phaswane insisted that the department had helped.

Launching an attack on the family's claim for funeral costs, Phaswane argued that the cost was paid for by the community.

James replied that the community only helped after responding to appeals by the media.

He appreciated that officials had attended his boy's funeral but said it did not amount to the help he expected.

Delete pictures

The third witness, Charles Malebana, told the court how police threatened him over photos he took at the scene.

James had asked Malebana to take photos of the toilet after arriving at the crime scene hours later.

"The police ordered me to delete pictures, saying to me 'do you know that it is a crime to take pictures on the scene?'

"I did not delete them until the police officer and school officials deleted them from my phone", Malebana testified. 

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