'Lost for words' - Lesufi distraught following deaths of 2 more pupils in Gauteng

Panyaza Lesufi.
Panyaza Lesufi.
Gallo Images

The Gauteng Department of Education - which has been hit by a scourge of tragic deaths of pupils in the province since the beginning of 2020 - has announced the deaths of two more pupils. 

On Friday, Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi said a Grade 11 boy from Eldorado Park Secondary School had died after he allegedly drank poison on Tuesday.

"[He] was rushed to a local hospital for necessary medical attention. Unfortunately he died on Thursday after the medical team advised the family that the life support machine be switched off," he said.

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According to Lesufi, the boy's family said this was his second attempt at taking his own life.

The boy is the 22nd pupil to have died since the beginning of the 2020 school year.

'Lost for words'

"We would like to send our sincere condolences to the family and the school community. Indeed, we are lost for words to comfort them. We feel their pain during this time of grief," Lesufi said.

The department's psycho-social team was scheduled to visit the school on Monday to provide support and counselling. 

In a second incident, an 18-year-old Grade 10 pupil from Reiger Park Secondary School in Ekurhuleni died after being stabbed on 29 February by an unknown assailant at the Ramaphosa informal settlement.

The teen was rushed to OR Tambo Hospital, where he later succumbed to his injuries.

The suspect was on the run, Lesufi said, and police were investigating.

"On behalf of the entire education fraternity in Gauteng, we would like to send our heartfelt condolences to the family and the school community. May they find comfort in knowing that we too share their pain.

"Furthermore, we strongly condemn senseless acts of violence which threaten the safety of our learners in and around our schooling environment, robbing them of their future," Lesufi said.   

Officials from the department's psycho-social unit would also be dispatched to the school and family.

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