Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga says she will investigate the circumstances surrounding the deaths of pupils Enoch Mpianzi, 13, and Keamohetswe Seboko, 13.
Mpianzi drowned during a river rafting exercise at Parktown Boys High School’s orientation camp on Wednesday in Brits, North West, while Seboko was found dead at Laerskool Bekker’s hostel swimming pool in Magaliesburg.
Motshekga said the circumstances surrounding the deaths of pupils should be thoroughly investigated to avoid similar occurrences in the future.
“We also appeal for patience and urge members of the public to refrain from speculating as we await the outcome of the investigations into the drowning of Mpianzi and Seboko. Our prayers are with the families of the deceased pupils.”
She added a team of officials from the school safety unit at the department would support and collaborate with the Gauteng education department in the investigations, saying the team would also assist in ensuring that the affected families were supported in these difficult times.
Motshekga said the first week of schooling was marred by various serious incidents that had resulted in the loss of lives.
She conveyed her condolences to the families and school communities of the dead pupils as well Jabulile Secondary School’s principal, Emmanuel Tshivhase, 53, who was shot dead last week.
The department also noted other disturbing incidents where an 18-year-old pupil from Kopanelo Secondary School in North West was stabbed; the torching of Khutlo-Tharo and Tokelo high schools and the drowning of a Grade 11 pupil from Mpolweni High School in KwaZulu-Natal.
The department promised to work with the affected provinces to ensure appropriate measures are put in place to prevent the unnecessary loss of life.
Motshekga condemned the torching of schools and theft of school property.
“We have full confidence that law enforcement agencies will find and bring to book those responsible for damages to school infrastructure. We urge communities to take back control of schools by safeguarding educational facilities and reporting any suspicious activity at the nearest police station,” she said.