Probe into death of Laerskool Bekker pupil Keamohetswe Seboko finds teachers were negligent

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  • Keamohetswe Seboko drowned during a swimming activity at Laerskool Bekker in January.
  • The Gauteng Department of Education deployed an independent law firm to probe the circumstances.
  • MEC Panyaza Lesufi says the department would engage with the family for a settlement.

An independent report into the drowning of 13-year-old Keamohetswe Shaun Seboko contained a finding that teachers who were supervising the boy and his school mates were negligent.

Seboko drowned at Laerskool Bekker during a swimming activity. 

Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi handed the report to Seboko's family on Friday at their home in Eldorado Park. 

The report also contained a finding that, based on evidence received, the boy drowned to death and no foul play was involved.  

Lesufi said the report was compiled by an independent law firm and had been ready around March but could not be released due to the national Covid-19 lockdown.

"They (the law firm) feel that on the basis of the evidence that they have, they still feel that it was a drowning.  They couldn't find any act, either of bullying, murder or somebody being responsible," the MEC said.

Seboko died on the same day Parktown Boys' High pupil Enock Mpianzi was swept away in the Crocodile River during a school camp at Nyati Bush and River Break Lodge in the North West.

Lesufi said as part of the terms of reference, the department wanted to check whether there was any foul play and whether the boy was pushed while he was in the pool. 

He said the law firm used an academic study to reach the conclusion that Seboko had drowned. 

They also found that there were "serious inconsistent reports" from the school principal and the teachers who attended to the children at the time.

Lesufi said footage was viewed and based on this - and statements provided - the investigating team felt there was a misrepresentation of facts, which was why the school was being held responsible.

He added that the firm recommended that the department charge the principal and the four teachers.

"Lastly, their findings felt that because they found that the school is liable, by extension, the department is liable and therefore the department must enter into discussions with the family to find a way of settling the matter with the family," he told the media after briefing the family behind closed doors.

The MEC said he accepted all the recommendations a intended to meet the family to discuss a settlement agreement. 

The department's legal team is expected to meet the family next week. 

Lesufi is also expected to release the findings to the school governing body and the school management team soon. 

He added that the family would also be briefed once the disciplinary hearing against the school and teachers involved was concluded.

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