It has emerged that gross negligence almost led to 50 learners drowning along with Enoch Mpianzi on the infamous Parktown Boys’ High School trip which was supervised by only two camp facilitators.
The Star has learnt from insiders that at the camp site on the tragic Wednesday evening in Brits in the North West that teacher negligence, including the school governing body (SGB) that approved the trip, could’ve led to greater numbers of deaths.
Accusations have also been levelled at Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi for allegedly not implementing two 2018 forensic reports he commissioned that recommended the scrapping of the notorious Grade 8 camp at the school due to a slew of abuses on learners.
The Star has also learnt that a legal challenge was looming against the school and the Gauteng Education Department (GDE) from Parktown stakeholders, who said they have been fighting for the axing of the Grade 8 camp since 2015.
Enoch was found on Thursday after a water raft he and other learners had built overturned on the Crocodile River.
An insider, who asked not to be named, said the SGB were refusing to share details of Enoch’s death because of an alleged negligence cover-up.
“I have spoken to the boys and we know exactly what happened. We will have the names of the facilitators soon, and they should be asked why only two (of them) jumped into the water when 50 boys were near drowning,” the insider said.
“We are talking to lawyers because after fighting from 2015 to now to have camps stopped, we have realised that Parktown Boys’ High School will only adjust through a court of law.”
The two reports referred to were from law firms Fasken Martineau and H&M Attorneys, which followed the arrest of former Parktown water polo coach Collan Rex for sexual assault and abuse.
Rex received a 23-year sentence, which blew the lid on shocking sexual and physical violence at the school.
GDE spokesperson Steve Mabona said he could not comment on what happened at the camp. However, he said: “We can confirm that an independent enquiry has begun to do its work; we will await the outcome, which will assist the MEC to make an informed decision.” Mabona added that “recommendations from both reports were implemented accordingly”.
The Mpianzi family and the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) arrived on Tuesday at the Nyati Bush and Riverbreak site to a locked gate. This came after the family accepted the SAHRC’s offer of legal representation following their 13-year-old-son’s tragic death.
SAHRC provincial head Buang Jones said the owners of the camp, where the incident happened, had initially agreed to a site inspection. However, they had changed their minds and said that they would be consulting their legal representatives.
The family and the SAHRC, however, took matters into their own hands and jumped the fence. Jones said Section 16 of the Human Rights Act allowed them access to any premises.
Enoch’s grieving mother Anto Mpianzi had broken her silence in an interview with ENCA on Monday.
She said that the incident that took the life of her son should be the last and asked for support and prayers.
“When we send our children to school, we hope that we out them in good hands, but some people prove to us that they are not capable,” she said.
The mom added that her son’s name should remind people of good things. “Enock was a good boy. He was kind. He liked studying. He was pursuing his ambitions,” she said.