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Double amputee parents worried about key witness

ALEXANDRA - Parents think that their key witness has been bribed in their case against the Department of Education.

The parents of former Carter Primary School double amputee Lewis Wynne believe there is an orchestrated attempt to silence witnesses ahead of their son’s compensation case in September.

Kenneth Wynne, father of Lewis, alleged that one of the witnesses in the case was having doubts about testifying in the case, although the witness had stood by the family since Lewis’ injury. Lewis had to have his legs amputated in 2010 after a freak accident at the school. A smouldering tree was blown over and fell onto the prefabricated classroom he was in, severing both his legs. The family initially refused to open a case at the Alexandra Police Station, but the police on duty apparently put pressure on the family to hastily do so when they (the police) heard that a TV crew had arrived.

Even the principal of the school has allegedly failed to address the Wynne’s about the incident. “He has never communicated with us up until today, let alone to come and see the progress of his pupil,” said Wynne.

The family was offered R3 million in compensation, but they felt it was too little and opted to sue the Gauteng Department of Education.

Wynne would not say who was behind the alleged attempts to silence the main witness in the case, but said the main witness to the incident, a former vendor at the school, did not want to testify anymore.

“I think she must have had an agreement with the school because now she refuses to co-operate,” Wynne said.

The witness, who is now a member of the Community Works Programme commented, “I don’t want to get involved in this case and if anyone involves me, I will sue them.”

Wynne said he was disappointed in the manner in which the department handled his son’s injury. “It would appear to me as though the department intentionally set out to harm my son, because they are freely willing to go to court.”

Gauteng Department of Education spokesperson Gershwin Chuenyane said he could not comment on the matter as it was still pending with the department and the Wynne’s lawyers.

Chuenyane said the matter was set down for 2 September and the department would present the previously rejected offer for a ruling.

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