Education Dept refutes claims it was insensitive towards Michael Komape’s family

Last week, the SCA ordered the department to pay R1.4 million in damages to the five-year-old boy’s family.

Michael Komape died after falling into a pit toilet at school in 2014. Picture: Twitter/@Corruption_SA

JOHANNESBURG - The Department of Basic Education has raised concerns over comments insinuating the state was insensitive towards Michael Komape’s family.

Komape drowned in a pit toilet at a school his Limpopo in 2014, sparking anger across the country at the dismal state of sanitation at South African schools.

The department said it wanted to set the record straight following what it called misleading reports emanating from the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) judgment.

Last week, the SCA ordered the department to pay R1.4 million in damages to the five-year-old boy’s family.

The department said now that the court handed down the ruling it would compensate the family as per the order, adding that the state never refused to pay in the first place.

“The Limpopo Department of Education will soon pay the settlement amount to the family. Ms Beauty Mutheiwana, the Head of the Limpopo Department of Education, confirmed today [Tuesday] that the provincial department will fulfill its obligations in this regard in the few days,” spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga said in a statement.

“The department is, however, concerned that subsequent to the SCA ruling, various individuals have made comments in the public arena that insinuate that the department was insensitive towards the family. And the suggestions perpetuated in the media that the department did not support the family are also not supported by facts,” he added.