Panyaza lesufi Afriforum

Image via Twitter: @Lesufi

Lesufi suspends Parktown Boys’ principal, claims camp was not authorised

The MEC confirmed that preliminary results from the probe suggest that the camp was not authorised by the department.

Panyaza lesufi Afriforum

Image via Twitter: @Lesufi

Gauteng Education MEC, Panyaza Lesufi has confirmed that Parktown Boys’ High principal, Malcolm Williams, has been suspended.

Why the principal was suspended

“We have concluded that the principal is the delegated authority with the responsibility for the safety of our learners in schools and thus we have taken a decision to immediately suspend the principal of Parktown Boys’ and serve him with a suspension letter in order for the investigation to proceed without hindrance,” Lesufi noted.

This follows a forensic investigation that was conducted by the Education Department, into the school’s handling of the Grade 8 orientation camping trip that was rocked by the death of 13-year-old Enoch Mpianzi.

Mpianzi was one of 50 pupils whose bamboo rafts had capsized into the Crocodile River. Insiders have come forward with claims that the pupils were never supervised during the rafting exercise.

The teen’s body was only recovered from the river on Friday, 17 January, two days after he went missing. Insiders claim that his death could have been avoided if the orientation camp was managed differently.

Lesufi claims Parktown Boys’ High camp was not authorised

At a media briefing, Lesufi revealed that an investigation was launched after media reports exposed inconsistencies in the school’s version of what had transpired between the last time Mpianzi was seen alive, and two days later, when his body was found.

“Due to the serious inconsistency of the alleged facts that have been presented to us, and that have been reported in the media, and the fact that the answers are needed, the Department appointed an independent forensic law firm, Harris Harris Nupen Molebatsi [Attorneys] to investigate this matter,” Lesufi stated.

The MEC confirmed that preliminary results from the probe suggest that the camp was not authorised by the department, at least not at the time the class had disembarked at the entrance of Nyati Bush and Breakaway Lodge, on Wednesday, 15 January.

“We can now confirm that the school had made an application to the district to approve the trip. However, by the time the school embarked on this trip, the district and head office had not approved the trip thus making this trip an unauthorised activity,” he revealed.

The complicity of teachers will be measured individually

Lesufi further noted that the investigation has yet to conclude, as officials are still in the process of screening documents and interviewing key witnesses.

He stated that in measuring the responsibility of the teachers who were tasked with facilitating the camp, the group will not be charged as a collective.

“We want to act but we don’t want to charge the teachers as a collective. We want to charge the teachers individually on the basis of the roles that were assigned to them and whether those assignments were appropriately or correctly executed,” he said.

Lesufi confirmed that a parent meeting, together with the Parktown Boys’ school governing body (SGB) will be held on Friday, at 18;00.

“We will be guided by parents of the school later this evening on the kind of action we shall take or not take. We have convened an urgent meeting so that we can table this report to those parents and the basis of being a body that was elected by parents, parents must guide what action we should take or not take,” the MEC added