Enock Mpianzi drowning: Release of report postponed after meeting with family

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The funeral service of Enoch Mpianzi. (Morapedi Mashashe)
The funeral service of Enoch Mpianzi. (Morapedi Mashashe)

The Gauteng Education Department has postponed the release of the much-anticipated report into the death of Parktown Boys' High School Grade 8 pupil Enock Mpianzi.

The report, which was compiled by Harris Nupen Molebatsi Attorneys, was meant to be released on Thursday evening. However, two hours before the release time, the department said it had consulted Mpianzi's family and found that it would be "insensitive to release the report without their blessings".

"Subsequent to our meeting today, we all agreed that the next session will be held on February, 27 2020," said Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi in a statement.

Lesufi said he had also consulted with Gauteng Premier David Makhura, who agreed that the release of the forensic report be rescheduled until "processes have been concluded". 

It is unclear what the processes were.

"We sincerely apologise to the Mpianzi family, the school community, the media and society for the inconvenience this may have caused."

Mpianzi, 13, was swept away in the Crocodile River while attending a Grade 8 orientation camp at Nyati Bush and River Break lodge near Brits in North West on January, 15.

He was last seen when a makeshift raft he and other boys were on overturned in the river, just hours after arriving at the camp.

His body was discovered two days later after a search, which started the day after the drowning.

A preliminary report by the Education Department was commissioned and found that the orientation camp was not approved by the district and head offices.

This saw the school's headmaster, Malcolm Williams, and several officials being suspended with immediate effect.

Meanwhile, News24 has seen a letter from SA Human Rights Commission to the department indicating that its own initiated investigation would be halted. This in light of the fact that the commission had agreed that it would not be necessary to subject pupils to further interviews because the police as well as the department had already done so. 

"This will allow the GDE’s independent investigators to finalise their investigation which we believe to already be at an advanced stage. Once the investigation has been finalised GDE will submit the report to the Commission for review,"the letter reads.

The commission said it would be working with the department on issues pertaining to safety on school excursions.

While releasing the preliminary report, Lesufi said the department felt the officials had a case to answer regarding processing the application brought by Parktown Boys' High School which should also have required that all safety aspects of an application be adhered to.

The 2020 school calendar got off to a rocky start as deaths kept climbing every week. Fifteen pupils have died since schools opened on 15 January.

On the day Mpianzi's body was found it emerged that Grade 7 pupil Keamohetswe Shaun Sebeko, 13, had been found drowned in the hostel swimming pool at Laerskool Bekker on 15 January.

The department appointed a law firm, Ndobela Lamola Inc (Attorneys), to investigate the circumstances surrounding his death and a report is expected to be released soon.

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