Nyati Bush and River Break Lodge should be held responsible and liable for its negligent and reckless actions which contributed to the death of Parktown Boys’ High School Grade 8 pupil Enock Mpianzi, a forensic investigation has recommended.
The damning report, compiled by Harris Nupen Molebatsi Attorneys (HNM), was released on Wednesday night in the school hall at Parktown Boys’ High.
It found the campsite was reckless in allowing the pupils to go into the river without life jackets and that there were not enough coordinators during the water activity.
The damning report found that the school principal, Malcolm Williams, seven educators who accompanied over 200 boys to the camp, the Gauteng Education Department (GED) and the lodge were negligent and reckless in their roles.
The damning report into Enock Mpianzi’s drowning broadly found that the school principal, Malcolm Williams, seven educators who accompanied over 200 boys to camp, the department and lodge were negligent and reckless.
The report found that Williams was negligent in not ensuring an accurate roll call list was in place and had also been negligent in not ensuring the boys were safe during the water activity.
Williams was also found to be at fault for going ahead with the camp even though it had not been authorised by the district and head office. According to the report, he was in breach of the safety regulations and should be subject to disciplinary proceedings.
The report stated that the teachers, five are employed by the school governing body (SGB) and two by the GED, should also be subject to disciplinary hearings because they had failed to ensure the pupils had life jackets.
The school was found to have been negligent in allowing the water exercise to go ahead, while the SGB was found liable for allowing the camp without any authorisation.
HNM also recommended the GED conduct a thorough investigation into four other deaths of pupils at the lodge. In this way, it could be ensured that justice was served and there was closure for the families.
The GED said it had begun the process of taking action against those implicated in the report.
Speaking after the delivery of the lengthy report, MEC Panyaza Lesufi said all relevant documents had been dispatched to parties affected by the tragedy.
He added that communication had been sent to all schools in the province to never use the camping facility again.
“But, most importantly, we are weighing all our legal options on the current and previous cases. We also feel there are other state institutions that must come on board to assist us to enforce this matter,” Lesufi said.
The GED promised it would conclude all administrative responsibilities assigned to it by the law firm.
Lesufi said the department had also made a directive to schools that they ensure all water-related activities included the presence of life jackets, as well as lifesavers on site.
To reassure parents, consent forms would be amended to include that schools had visited campsites and found it to be safe.