MEC will ascertain more details about the drowning of pupils

Matome Chiloane, the MEC for education in Gauteng, will visit the Daveyton Skills School in Benoni on Wednesday following the drowning of two pupils.

The pupils were attending a discipline camp at the Rock Falls Adventure Ranch in Centurion, north of Pretoria, when they lost their lives on Monday afternoon. 

“The purpose of the visit is to ascertain more details about the circumstances that led to this tragic incident in order to determine a way forward,” said Steve Mabona, the spokesperson for the department in the province.

“According to information at our disposal, the two pupils, aged 13 and 16, were attending a discipline camp held by the non-governmental organisation, Rising Stars Generation, in Pretoria on April 12. They were scheduled to return on Monday.

“It is alleged that after activities had been concluded on Monday afternoon, one of the pupils suddenly ran towards a nearby river close to the entrance of the camp site.

“A second pupil followed in an attempt to bring him back. It is further alleged that the pupil who ran off jumped into the river, prompting the second pupil to try to rescue him. However, both pupils unfortunately drowned as a result.”

Bodies recovered by EMS

Mabona said the incident was reported to emergency medical services (EMS) and the police, who managed to recover the bodies of the two pupils.

Gauteng police spokesperson, Captain Tintswalo Sibeko, said an inquest docket has been opened for investigation.

Mabona said the department’s psycho-social support unit will be dispatched to the school to provide trauma support and counselling.

“We are deeply saddened by the unfortunate deaths of our pupils during a school excursion,” said Chiloane.

“On behalf of the department, we wish to extend our sincerest condolences to their respective families and the Daveyton Skills School community.”

In a separate incident two weeks ago, the report of the independent investigation into the drowning of 12-year-old Latoya Temilton recommended that the principal, deputy principal and teachers be charged with contravening various laws.

This was according to Meshack Nchupetsang, who is a representative of Nchupetsang Incorporated Attorneys.

The department hired the law firm to look into Temilton’s death, who was a grade 7 pupil at Laerskool Queenswood in Pretoria.

School officials blamed

Temilton drowned on January 20 at Wag ’n Bietjie Campsite in Olifantsfontein in Ekurhuleni, east of Johannesburg.

The venue was the site of a camp organised by the school to select head girls and head boys for the school.

An investigation found that the principal, his deputy and the teachers did not adhere to various regulations governing school excursions and the Children’s Act.

Not only did they lack knowledge and training on the regulations, but they also did not seek parental consent in line with the regulations on excursions.

The school officials have also been found to have not fulfilled their obligations in accordance with the Children’s Act. This is to ensure the wellbeing of the pupils under their care.

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