News24 Wire
Wire Service
2 minute read
27 Jan 2020
4:32 pm

School ‘failed to act when grandma reported Laticia Jansen missing’

News24 Wire

Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi gave the school management a deadline to provide him with answers. Failure to do so would 'result in harsh action'.

Gauteng MEC for Education Panyaza Lesufi. Picture: Tracy Lee Stark

A cross, candles and an empty cake box remain at the scene where a 15-year-old Germiston Grade 9 Graceland Education Centre pupil was stabbed, raped and burnt to death.

Laticia Princes Jansen’s family visited the scene on Saturday to celebrate her birthday.

Just a day earlier, her burnt body had been found in a nearby bush in Elsburg after she went missing on Wednesday.

It is alleged that school transport left some pupils behind and that they had to walk to school, taking a shortcut through bushes.

When Jansen’s grandmother reported her missing on Thursday, she was told to bring a photograph of the child before any steps could be taken.

The grandmother also went to the school to report that she was missing and there she was told that Laticia was absent from school on the Wednesday – the day she disappeared.

With dogs by their sides, the family and members of the community started to search for her until they found her body.

Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi, who visited the school, said on Monday that details of her disappearance were still sketchy.

Although he was expected to be briefed by representatives of the school, no answers were given to him.

“No one could give me answers [to explain] why the learner was not at school on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

“A parent comes and says they have a missing child and you just say ‘go to the police station’ and don’t assist the parent [or] make a follow-up [enquiry] on Friday when the learner is still not there,” Lesufi said.

He added that it was also concerning that there were time changes in the scholar transport and that these were not communicated to parents.

The MEC gave the school management a deadline to provide him with answers. He said a failure to do so would result in harsh action against the school’s management.

Lesufi said he would meet with the community on Tuesday to seek answers.

“We can’t have a barbaric act like this and it’s business as usual,” he said.

Graceland school governing body chairperson, Evelyn Mazibuko, said they were not aware that a pupil was missing and only learnt that Laticia had died via media reports.

Mazibuko said the school was probing why no action was taken when the matter was reported.

She added that the governing body was worried that there was no “empathy” from the school.

Police spokesperson Brigadier Mathapelo Peters told News24 that the police would visit Jansen’s home before commenting.

Meanwhile, community members have raised concerns that it was not the first time a pupil from the area died under similar circumstances.

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