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SAHRC to represent family of Parktown Boys High pupil who died at orientation camp

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The Human Rights Commission will take on the school and the Department on behalf of the family.

Cape Town – The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) will represent the family of deceased Parktown Boys’ High pupil Enock Mpianzi in a lawsuit against the school and the Department of Basic Education, as well as other role players in the tragedy.

SAHRC Gauteng provincial head Buang Jones made the announcement after meeting with the family on Monday and said the commission would be contacting the school and the department.  

Mpianzi, a Grade 8 pupil at the prestigious Johannesburg school, drowned last week while on a school orientation camp in North West. His body was recovered by police from the Crocodile River on Friday. He had been missing since Wednesday afternoon when the group participated in a water activity, but his absence was only noticed on Thursday.

According to the Saturday Star, Enock drowned when the raft he had helped build as part of a group exercise capsized. The rest of the group went on a hike and then had dinner before overnighting in the bush, completely unaware that the 13-year-old was missing.

According to a statement released by the school on Friday, it was only late on Thursday morning that everyone realised a boy was missing. Police were informed after 3 pm that day and a frantic search ensued. 

“After that exercise, everyone indicated to us that they were aware that a learner was missing. Only when they did a headcount, did they realise that the numbers were not the same. They indicated that other children were booked to come on the trip but never pitched up,” Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi explained on Friday after Mpianzi’s mother identified his body. 

“So they started phoning everyone that was not there. They thought this child was one of those who didn’t make it. But when they checked, they realised that someone was missing because their belongings were there.” 

It is unclear whether the children were wearing life vests.

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