Five questions about Enoch Mpianzi’s death that should be answered

Enoch Mpianzi drowned while at a school orientation camp in Brits, North West.
Image: @CuedaBeat_bhr via Twitter

Early on Friday, 13-year-old Enoch Mpianzi was found dead after drowning while on a school orientation camp at a lodge in Brits, North West.

The incident happened around 3pm on Wednesday.

His death has raised questions about the school’s treatment and supervision of the teenager.

Here are five that should be answered:

How did school staff only discover him missing the next day?

Mpianzi drowned after a homemade raft overturned. His disappearance went unnoticed for 17 hours.

According to News24, a boy who was seated next Mpianzi while they were en route to the camp was the first to raise the alarm that he was missing, after the boys returned from an activity.

How was he allowed on the raft without a life jacket?

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

A representative of the lodge told Radio 702 the children did not wear life jackets as they were supposed to be in shallow water.

Were Mpianzi’s swimming abilities assessed?

Indemnity forms signed by parents stated that the school, the department of education and the lodge could not be held liable for any occurrences. However, Parktown Boys’ High parent Muhammad Choonara told Power 98.7 that they did not indicate that pupils would be doing water activities.

According to an EWN report, the manager of the lodge, Anton Knoetze, said Mpianzi was not a strong swimmer and that no pupils “were forced” to take part in the activity.

Why was there no headcount before and after?

Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi said it was unclear how long it took for a headcount of pupils to be done.

“The headcount is a point of confusion, I must be honest. When did they realise that the headcount was incomplete? Who communicated which decision and other such matters?” asked Lesufi.

Why did the school remove ‘negative comments’ online?

According to Parktown Boys’ High School, it removed all “negative comments” about Mpianzi’s death from its social media pages out of “respect to the family and friends who had been affected by the tragedy”.

The school said the now-deleted speculations and open-forum discussions “may hamper and impede effective information gathering and investigation”.




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