News24 Wire
Wire Service
4 minute read
17 Jan 2020
2:50 pm

Body of missing Parktown Boys student found

News24 Wire

According to the school, Mpianzi went missing following a 'water activity'.

Police divers at a lodge in Brits where Parktown Boys student Enock Mpianzi. Image: Twitter/@Lesufi

The body of a Grade 8 boy of Parktown Boys’ High School student attending an orientation camp at a lodge near Brits in North West has been found.

13-year-old Enock Mpianzi was last seen on Wednesday when a makeshift raft he and other boys were on overturned on the Crocodile River.

The school issued a statement on Friday morning stating that the Grade 8 group arrived at camp on Wednesday.

“On Thursday morning, it was realised that a boy had gone missing from the camp. Emergency procedures have been instituted by camp management and are being assisted by members of the local community and the SAPS Emergency Services,” the statement read.

Image: Parktown Boys Facebook page

“Police search-and-rescue are on site and are already at work in the area of the river where a water activity was held after the boy’s arrival. The parents of the missing boy are at the venue.”

The school said the search was continuing.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family during this traumatic time.”

Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi tweeted: “I am sadly informed that during the Parktown Boys Grade 8 Orientation Camp in Mpumalanga (sic), one learner couldn’t be accounted for after a water activity. Police search-and-rescue are on site in the area of the river where a water activity was held. I will also join the search.”

Lesufi later added: “Rescue teams suspended the search last night. They will resume with the search [on Friday] morning. Jointly with the school we’ve agreed to cancel the camp. The boys will have their breakfast [on Friday] morning and thereafter be taken back home. We remain hopeful.”

Department spokesperson Steve Mabona said its psycho-social unit would be at the school to assist with necessary counselling to the school community.

Parents and pupils at Parktown Boys’ High School in Johannesburg were visibly heartbroken. With teary eyes, some pupils from the camp could be seen walking out of the school gates being consoled by their mothers.

Parents whose children attend the school have expressed shock at the incident.

One mother, who wanted to remain anonymous, told News24 that her son was unable to go on the camp because she had not bought his uniform.

“More than anything else, I am shocked. Thank God he didn’t go. But I have a lot of questions because I am asking myself of the methods they took to ensure the children are safe,” she said.

The mother said the incident has left her shaken and questioning her decision to place her son at the school.

“But where else should I take him because of all this placement issues?”

A father Tebogo Mphela, a former pupil of the school, was at the school to pick up his son, who was also at the camp.

He said from the time the boys left, he had a feeling that something would happen. This as the boys were allegedly under the care of the school’s Grade 12s.

“I had this instinct that these are children going to look after children. The so-called matrics. I had a feeling something wrong would happen and it did and I feel sorry for that child who drowned,” the father said.

Counselling

The parents are demanding answers from the school and education department following the tragedy and are also questioning why they were not informed about the incident.

“I only heard about this incident on the news this morning, to my surprise,” one parent told News24.

By 12:00 school had been let out.

The Teddy Bear Foundation, who was called in by the department, is at the school to offer support.

The foundation’s director Shaheda Omar said their team had already started counselling the pupils and parents.

Danie van der Merwe, marketing manager at Nyati Bush and Riverbreak, where the camp took place, referred all media queries to the education department.

Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi is expected to brief the media in the afternoon.

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