The Department of Basic Education has called for the police to investigate the death of a 15-year-old pupil who drowned during an Equal Education leadership course in the Eastern Cape.
According to department spokesperson Elijah Mahlangu, the Xolani High School pupil drowned while taking part in an activity organised by EE.
The provincial department was alerted when community members raised their concerns following the death of Avethandwa Nokhangela. According to Mahlangu, members of Sea Rescue services and the police assisted the department officials to piece together details of the incident.
“The DBE supports MEC for education in the Eastern Cape Fundile Gade, who has called for a full investigation into the circumstances that led to the death of the learner. The department in the province received information from Saps about the incident after the body of the learner was recovered from one of the Buffalo metro beaches,” Mahlangu said in a statement on Wednesday.
He added that the delay by Equal Education in reporting the matter to the provincial education department raised serious concerns.
According to Mahlangu, the department received a letter about the incident from EE on 1s May. In the letter directed to acting Eastern Cape education department head of department Dr Soyisile, EE says it contacted the department only on Friday afternoon.
“A thorough investigation into the incident is required to ensure that all the facts are established and those found responsible must be held to account for the unnecessary loss of life,” Mahlangu said.
The provincial department has sent officials to the school to arrange psychosocial support for learners.
An inquest into the 15 year old’s death was opened on Saturday after the body was found by sea rescuers. The incident took place at the Palm Ridge resort outside East London. The camp was attended by pupils who were members of EE’s provincial leadership committee representing 19 schools from across the province.