A Bekker Primary School teacher allegedly did not conduct a head count inspection before the body of 13-year-old Keamohetswe Shaun Seboko was found in the school’s swimming pool on Wednesday last week.
Bekker’s school governing body (SGB) chairperson, Willie Dry, told Times Select that the incident that occurred was “sad” and that the school’s “system of 20 years of taking children for a swim had a loophole”.
When 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.
“Head counts would required the teacher to sit and watch the kids until they leave,” he said. “Each class normally consists of 60 children and one teacher…most of the time the children run in and out of the pool area since toilets are outside.”
He further explained that some children got in the pool to swim. then got out and some only want to wet their feet and leave.
“Like the school has done for the past 20 years, Wednesday’s swimming session was just like any other day,” he added.
He said the gates were usually locked by the teachers after each session and they were alerted the moment Keamohetswe’s body was found.
“Keamohetswe’s body was pulled out of the water by the teacher, who happened to be taking the girls for a swim along with the other teacher, who had taken the boys for a swim.”
Dry denied accusations that the school was covering up the death or that the incident was an initiation that had gone wrong.
He said there was a bruise on Keamohetswe’s neck, but that may be have been caused when the teacher pushed and then pulled his body out of the pool.
“We are currently assisting the police in their investigation so the family can have closure,” he concluded.
Keamohetswe’s death comes in the light of another drowning incident as Parktown Boys’ High School came under fire when Enoch Mpianzi, 13, died during a school orientation camp for Grade 8 pupils at Nyati Bush and Riverbreak Lodge in North West last week.
Mpianzi died after the makeshift raft he had built with other boys in his group overturned and his disappearance went unnoticed for 17 hours.
His body was found 3km downstream on Friday morning.
The MEC for education in Gauteng, Panyaza Lesufi, confirmed that police investigations into the drownings of both pupils had already been initiated.
Kemohetswe’s mother, Lucia Seboko, told the SABC that her child was a very capable swimmer and the initial story told by the school did not correspond to the number of bruises he had on his body.
She asked the school how one child could drown if there were 60 other children in the pool.
“He knew how to swim ever since the age of five so he couldn’t have drowned. Where are the bruises he had on his lips, neck and back coming from after he drowned?
“The thing that confuses me more is that his underwear was off. How could you lose underwear if you had drowned?”