Parliament’s select committee on education and technology, sport, and arts and culture has offered its condolences to the family and friends of two Johannesburg school pupils who drowned in two separate incidents this past week.
Thirteen-year-old Parktown Boys High School pupil Enoch Mpianzi tragically died during a grade 8 orientation camp. It is believed that Enoch and some other boys were on a make-shift raft which overturned on the Crocodile River in the North West. Enoch’s body was found on Friday.
In another incident, 13-year old pupil Keamohetswe Shaun Seboko, of the Magaliesburg Laerskool in Johannesburg, drowned in the school’s swimming pool on Wednesday.
The committee called on the basic education department, school principals, and teachers to strengthen safety measures to ensure the safety of pupils, especially during after-school activities, committee chairman Elleck Nchabeleng said in a statement on Sunday.
“Educators and facilitators must take full responsibility and must always have a watchful eye on learners, especially when they are involved in activities away from their homes. This is something we do not compromise on,” he said.
The committee also called on the department to focus attention on violence taking place at schools. The recent stabbing of a grade 9 pupil during a schoolyard brawl at John Ramsey High School in Bishop Lavis in Cape Town was one such example of violence. It was believed that the pupil was attacked by four boys, two of whom were not pupils at the school. The committee wished the wounded pupil a speedy recovery.
“There have been so many incidents of tragic death of learners just in a week after schools have re-opened. While we cannot mention each and every incident, we are aware, as the committee, about many of these tragic incidents where learners have lost their lives or [been] injured,” Nchabeleng said.