Parktown teachers left roll call list with Enock Mpianzi's name on bus
The list would have raised the alarm that Mpianzi was no longer among the group of pupils
The list of names that had Enock Mpianzi at number 183 of 204 pupils who went on the orientation camp to Nyati Bush and Riverbreak lodge in Brits was left on a bus that departed after dropping them off.
The carelessness of the teachers who went to the initiation camp with the grade 8 pupils from Parktown Boys’ High School in Johannesburg resulted in them leaving the crucial list on the bus, a forensic report has found.
Peter Harris of Harris Nupen Molebatsi Attorneys on Wednesday revealed that it was this list that should have been used to conduct a roll call after the water activity — and which would have raised the alarm that Mpianzi was no longer among the group of new pupils.
As a result, it took 18 hours for the teachers to realise that the boy was not left behind at school or among the group of pupils who themselves were still strangers to one another, but that he was probably already dead.
“In effect, the only list which was reasonably accurate of those that attended the camp was not at the camp,” the damning report revealed.
Only after the water exercise at the river on that Wednesday afternoon did the teachers request a master list from the school.
“The problem was that the list obtained from the school was of all incoming grade 8 learners to the school and not just of attendees at the Nyati camp,” Harris said.
At the top of this list it states, “Incoming Grade 8” and in handwriting “Wednesday 15/1 roll call (+- 17:25)”.
This was Mpianzi’s first roll call at the school and it was done by Malcolm Williams, the headmaster. It had his name and the boxes for the indemnity form signed by parents and camp payment were ticked.
According to the report, Alex Meintjies, teacher and grade 8 head, said in his evidence that he was extremely busy after they had arrived at Nyati on the Wednesday afternoon as there was an issue concerning the halaal food that was delivered, which was insufficient for all of the halaal pupils.
The first roll call was done at the lodge’s hall and activities continued as planned on Wednesday afternoon.
“At 11h45 [Thursday], I got the phone call from Sandy Beard to say that she’s phoned Enock’s parents and they were adamant that he was dropped off at the camp,” he said. This was after the enrolment office called all parents of the pupils to check who had indeed made it to the camp.
About 2pm, another roll call was held at Nyati and it was confirmed that Mpianzi was missing.
“If the correct roll call list had been utilised for the 17h30 roll call held by Malcolm Williams [headmaster] on Wednesday, it would have been clear that Enock Mpianzi was missing and the search process and emergency procedures could have been immediately activated,” Harris said.
This included a rigorous search of the river in which, given the circumstances of what transpired during the course of the water exercise, would have been the “obvious” place to look.