Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) MP Naledi Chirwa said that a parent of a child who was at the camp where Enock Mpianzi died in a drowning incident told her that it was not an “orientation camp” but an “initiation camp”.
She also says she was told that “a few boys alerted teachers [and] the school of Enock Mpianzi having gone missing on Wednesday already [and] nothing was done”.
A representative of the school told The Citizen they were not allowed to comment on the matter, referring queries to Gauteng department of education spokesperson Steve Mabona, who had not responded to requests for comment at the time of publication.
Dirk Nel, one of the 17 instructors at the Inyathi Sports School and Lodge where Mpianza drowned, told The Citizen the school principal had a roll call after the river activity termed by the lodge a “survival exercise”, but failed to notice that Mpianzi was missing. He said if they had a list with the names of the pupils maybe they would have noticed earlier and done something.
He said it was only the following day that the pupils noticed that one of them was missing, saying they had searched everywhere for the boy with no luck.
The allegation regarding an “initiation camp” marks the latest complaint about the school’s alleged initiation practices, which resulted in a lawsuit a decade ago.
Following the tragedy of Mpianza’s death, some Twitter users said the story didn’t add up, leading to claims that some kind of initiation ritual may have taken place.
In 2009, 12 Parktown Boys matrics were taken to court by Pene Kimber, who said her Grade 11 son had been victimised through initiation practices at the school.
Kimber alleged that her son was among pupils who had been lined up against a wall and hit on their buttocks with hockey sticks, golf clubs and cricket bats until they bled. Her son was also allegedly made to rub Deep Heat on his genitals.
Then, in 2018, a report by Peter Harris of Harris Nupen Molebatsi Attorneys highlighted alleged sexual assault under the guise of “initiation practises”, as well as other alleged disturbing practices at the school such as “sexually predatory behaviour” by senior pupils against junior pupils, a culture of assault and sexual assault under the guise of “initiation practices” and “profoundly shocking” utterances made by teachers in the presence of pupils.
The report followed former water polo coach Collan Rex pleading guilty to 144 counts of sexual assault involving 12 schoolboys.
Spoke to one of the parents of one of the #ParktownBoysHigh boys who was also at the camp. Firstly, it was NOT orientation camp but initiation camp. Secondly, a few boys alerted teachers & the school of Enock Mpianzi having gone missing on Wednesday already & nothing was done.
— Naledi Chirwa (@NalediChirwa) January 20, 2020
(Compiled by Daniel Friedman. Background reporting, Sipho Mabena)