Parktown Boys’ High School remains one of Gauteng’s best schools and will not be shut down, Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi said on Tuesday.
Lesufi was speaking at Enock Mpianzi’s memorial service in the school’s memorial hall.
He assured pupils who gathered to honour Mpianzi, who would have been one of their own, that their school remained one of the best in the province, regardless of all the negative publicity it was receiving.
Lesufi rejected calls for the school to be shut down, saying there were no practical reasons to do so.
“I want to put it categorically clear that this school will not be shut down. This school will be renewed and will remain [one of] the best schools we have in our country.
“There are no reasons why we should shut down this school. Yes, there are mistakes, limitations and challenges, but we will deal with those challenges like we have dealt with them before,” said Lesufi.
Pupils were urged to focus on their studies and not give attention to everything else happening at the school.
Lesufi said relevant support would be given to all pupils who could not cope. He also explained that certain tough decisions had to be made following the death of Mpianzi, including the suspension of the school’s headmaster Malcolm Williams and district officials.
He said he had always worked with Williams and was with him at the scene, adding that he hoped the pupils understood the decision to suspend him.
“We can’t leave this matter unattended. We can’t say to the parent’s of Enock, we don’t have answers. We can’t say, we don’t know what happened.”
Lesufi added that he had urged all investigators to conclude their probes so that a report could be made public to the school community.
News24 previously reported that the department had said it was concerned about a continued “culture of silence” at Parktown Boys’ High School, even though it had abolished and changed the school’s code of conduct.
At a media briefing last Friday, Lesufi indicated that, in the wake of the latest scandal at the embattled school, the department had learnt that the “culture of silence” continued.
He said the school governing body (SGB) would need to give answers about the censoring of pupils, even after a 2018 report.
Lesufi encouraged the boys at the memorial service to speak out and not be barred by a “code of conduct that says boys are boys, and boys are men and therefore they must not cry”.
“I urge you, where you see wrong, say it. I will protect you.”
Mpianzi will be buried in Johannesburg on Saturday.
News24 previously misspelt Mpianzi’s first name as “Enoch”, based on information provided by members of the family and the education department. It has since been established that the correct spelling is “Enock”.