The SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) says it will provide legal support to the family of Enoch Mpianzi, who died during a school orientation camp for grade 8 pupils.
The Parktown Boys’ High School camp took place at the Nyati Bush and Riverbreak lodge in the North West last week.
The 13-year-old died after the makeshift raft he had built with 11 other boys capsized in a river swollen by recent rains.
The teenager failed to surface and his disappearance went unnoticed for 17 hours.
His body was found on Friday morning, 3km downstream.
The commission’s acting legal head, Buang Jones, said they expected to meet the family at midday on Monday.
“We will provide them with legal support. The family are not in a position to afford legal representation and we think that we are placed to assist them.
“We are still shocked by the untimely death of the learner and we are saddened that this happened at the start of an academic year.
“We hope the department of education will put measures in place to ensure that learners are safe and it might also be an opportunity to review all these initiation practices across schools,” Jones said.
Parktown Boys’ High School said the camp aimed to introduce new Parktonians to each other and create an environment which “focuses on team work and the achieving of common goals through various activities offered at the camp”.
Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi said he did not know whether the “people who assisted the children or the children themselves had life jackets or were given safety guidance”.
About 200 pupils took part in the camp.
Mpianzi’s family is from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). He lived in Yeoville, Johannesburg.
Enoch’s father, Guy Intamba, told the Sunday Times that “somebody messed up”.
“I think the people who went there with the children were not organised,” he said