Mpianzi family, lawyers still waiting for response to letter of demand

A memorial for Enock Mpianzi outside Parktown Boys' High School in Parktown, 28 January 2020. Picture: Neil McCartney

The family’s lawyer, Ian Levitt, says that due to lockdown, everything is slow but the ball is in the court of the department of education.

Lawyers representing the family of former Parktown Boys’ High pupil Enock Mpianzi, who drowned while on a school camp earlier this year, say the education department and school have not yet responded to a letter of demand sent to them about a month ago.

Lawyer Ian Levitt told News24 on Wednesday: “I don’t expect that they would have at this stage responded. Due to lockdown everything is slow but the ball is in their court. The demands have been posted.”

However, the department said it hadn’t received the letter yet, which was sent via registered post. Spokesperson Steve Mabona said the department’s legal team had informed them that the letter had not been received.

News24 alerted the lawyers about the department’s reply and they said they would follow up.

Sunday marks four months since Mpianzi’s body was found after he drowned in the Crocodile River when a makeshift raft he and other boys were on overturned on the river on the first day of their Grade 8 orientation at a lodge near Brits in the North West. The incident occurred on 15 January and his body was found two days later.

Report into death

In March, a damning forensic report into Mpianzi’s death, compiled by Harris Nupen Molebatsi Attorneys (HNM), was released.

The report outlined several findings and recommendations, which included that no accurate roll call was taken at departure and that the trip was not authorised.

It also recommended that disciplinary action be taken against the Parktown Boys’ principal, teachers and the Gauteng Department of Education district officials.

Other major findings were related to water levels at the stream and the absence of life jackets during the water activity, where the boys experienced difficulty while on the makeshift raft.

Inquest docket

The Mpianzi family is still struggling to come to terms with his death, Levitt said. He added that they would, however, continue with their fight to have people held accountable for the death.

An inquest docket into Mpianzi’s death was handed to the senior prosecutor in Brits in March.

According to Gauteng NPA spokesperson Phindi Mjonondwane, the prosecutor was waiting for the forensic report from the department.

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