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Human Rights Commission worried about death at North West school for the blind

29 January 2019 - 20:04 By Ernest Mabuza
The South African Human Rights Commission has learned with shock about the death of a learner at the Christiana School for the Blind in North West.
School desks The South African Human Rights Commission has learned with shock about the death of a learner at the Christiana School for the Blind in North West.
Image: Gallo Images/ IStock

The South African Human Rights Commission has expressed concern about the death of a learner with disabilities who died at Christiana School for the Blind in North West last Friday.

The commission said apart from being informed about the death of the learner, it did not have any details of how the learner died and was investigating.

The North West education department could not be immediately reached for more details about the death.

The commission said this was not the first time that it had learned of the death of learners in special schools in the North West. 

It said in 2010, the commission had learned of the death of four learners at the Christiana School for the Blind.

In August 2015, three female learners aged between 16 and 18 had died in a fire that broke out in the learners’ hostel at the North West School for the Deaf.  

Twenty-three other learners sustained injuries while trying to escape from the fire by jumping from the first floor of the building.

The commission said it had investigated the matters and issued a comprehensive investigative report which had made a number of findings, including that the human rights of the learners had been violated.

The commission had also made a number of recommendations, including that the head of department of education in the North West must conduct a full audit of all special schools in the province to identify existing controls, training needs and risks that the learners were exposed to.

In its investigative report published last year, the commission also recommended that infrastructure at the school be assessed in line with safety norms and standards.

 In the latest incident, the commission has visited the school to conduct an investigation into the matter. The commission will also make an effort to meet the parents of the learner.


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