Enock Mpianzi: a timeline of what we know

His disappearance went unnoticed for 17 hours

21 January 2020 - 06:19 By Unathi Nkanjeni
Enock Mpianzi drowned while at a school orientation camp in Brits, North West.
Enock Mpianzi drowned while at a school orientation camp in Brits, North West.
Image: @CuedaBeat_bhr via Twitter

The death of 13-year-old Enock Mpianzi has sent shock waves through the country.

The grade 8 Parktown Boys' High School pupil was confirmed dead on Friday after drowning while on a school orientation camp at a lodge in Brits, North West.

Here is a timeline of what we know so far:

Cause of death

Mpianzi drowned on Wednesday about 3pm during a grade 8 orientation camp at the Nyati Bush and River Breakaway after a homemade raft overturned in a strongly flowing river.

He was not wearing a life jacket as his parents “couldn't afford” to buy the one that was recommended by the school.

Discovery

Details surrounding how it  was discovered that he was missing are the subject of an investigation.

His disappearance went unnoticed for 17 hours. According to Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi, Mpianzi was announced missing after school officials did a headcount.

However, a boy who was seated next to Mpianzi while they were en route to the  orientation camp was the first to raise the alarm that he was missing after the boys had returned from an activity.

Safety precautions unclear

TimesLIVE reported that Lesufi was unaware of the safety precautions that were taken before the activity.

“I was not briefed that the people who assisted the children had life jackets or were given safety measures. That part of the information was not provided as of now.”

Life cut short

The 13-year-old had just completed grade 7 at Brixton Primary School. He never got a chance to wear the high school's black and red blazer and grey pants uniform.

“This is not an oversight but a reckless disregard for the consequences, for his health and welfare.

“Even if Enock could swim, you do not send someone out on to the water without a life jacket and helmet. Indemnity is not an excuse to do whatever you like,” said Mpianzi's uncle, Sebastien Kodiemoka.

SA Human Rights Commission steps in

TimesLIVE reported that the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) said it would provide legal support to the family.

The commission’s acting legal head, Buang Jones, said the family was not in a position to afford legal representation and the commission was placed to assist them.

“We hope the department of education will put measures in place to ensure  learners are safe. It might also be an opportunity to review all these initiation practices across schools,” said Jones.

Parents outraged

Parents of some grade 8 pupils at the school shared how their children had also experienced difficulties at an orientation camp.

One parent, Felicia Dlamini, called the incident irresponsible and questionable.

“I already had my own issues with the school. I feel like they are negligent. How do you miss a child and only notice the next day? Did they not mark the register? I find it very irresponsible.”

Social media calling for justice

Social media users, including transport minister Fikile Mbalula, have called for justice for Mpianzi.

Mbalula said: “Enock died in the care of school authorities. This must be followed. Heads must roll.”


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