At the Gauteng department of education’s press briefing on Friday morning, it was announced by MEC Panyaza Lesufi that the principal of Parktown Boys’ High School, Malcolm Williams, has been suspended with immediate effect.
In addition, all officials who were involved in the file of application from the school will be served with suspension letters.
This after Grade 8 learner Enock Mpianzi drowned at a school camp during an “unauthorised” school trip to Nyati Bush and River Break lodge near Brits in North West.
Lesufi confirmed that an “urgent” student governing body meeting on Friday evening with parents would discuss the steps to be taken.
The discovery of Mpianzi’s body has led to several questions about the handling of the trip, with parents demanding answers on why it took nearly a day before a search was started.
The briefing also announced that school camps in Gauteng have been called off for now.
Lesufi also touched on the drowning of Bekker Primary School learner, Keamohetswe Shaun Seboko. Seboko was found in the school’s swimming pool last Wednesday.
When Bekker’s school governing body chairperson, Willie Dry was asked whether a head count was done of the children going to the pool and being taken back to their classrooms and hostels, he responded that “head counts are not done” and that they were only conducted if it was suspected that someone was missing.
The report of investigations into Seboko’s death will be revealed next week, Lesufi said.
Water activities at schools will now have to be approved by the department’s head office.
Schools wishing to embark on tours must apply with the department three months before departure, as per the Government Gazette Lesufi explained. However, the department’s preliminary findings reveal that although Parktown Boys’ High School had applied for the trip where Enock died, it was not approved.
The department will also have to look into the application process involved in schools applying to go on camps.
Factual inaccuracies and inconsistencies on Mpianzi’s death have plagued investigations.
(Compiled by Nica Schreuder)