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NW SAPS 'obtained' statements from pupils in Mpianzi’s death probe

The grade 8 boy drowned during a water activity in the North West last week when a makeshift raft capsized in the river. Enock Mpianzi was not wearing a life jacket when he was participating in the activity.

Parktown Boys High pupil Enock Mpianzi. Picture: Facebook

JOHANNESBURG - North West police say they have obtained statements from 13-year-old pupils at Parktown Boys’ High who attended an orientation camp in Brits, in the North West, to assist with the investigation into the death of Enock Mpianzi.

The grade 8 boy drowned during a water activity at the camp last week when a makeshift raft capsized in the river. Mpianzi was not wearing a life jacket when he took part in the activity.

There are growing calls for transparency with many questions around the boy’s death.

The police's Adele Myburgh said it was important that statements were taken from the children.

“Obviously, we didn’t obtain statements on the scene on the day. The police were since activated by taking statements from these kids and getting full details was done after by the investigating officer. They formed part of the inquest after the body was found.”

An autopsy was conducted by the Department of Health on Tuesday morning.

Myburgh said it would take some time before a report is completed.

“It takes a while, that also forms part of the investigation. The docket is then taken to the Department of Justice to make a decision on what the verdict is; did the person die of natural causes, etc?”

Meanwhile, Protesters have dispersed after staging a silent picket outside the school demanding answers to burning questions around Mpianzi's death.

A 19-year-old who attended the high school for two years said he went through the same orientation in grade 8 and was worried about what he calls the culture of silence.

“To say shutdown Parktown Boys' High would be naïve, I think there needs to be a huge change in administration and a huge change in policy in the ways boys are taught.”

One woman said she had many questions about the purpose of these orientation camps.

“How are we teaching them leadership skills by making them craw through mud, shivering like they are navy seals or something. It has to change.”

The children were not allowed to take cellphones with them, which made it even harder for the pupils to raise the alarm when they felt in danger.

'SAHRC WILL HELP US GET THE TRUTH'

Mpianzi's family say they hope the South Africa Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) would help them get the truth.

On Monday, the commission announced it would be assisting the family in pursuing legal action against those involved.

Mpianzi's family said the death of the 13-year-old had left them with so many unanswered questions.

Family spokesperson Sebastian Kodie Motha said he said he hoped the truth would prevail: “We hope those who are meant to be punished are punished.”

The commission is expected to conduct a site inspection together with the Mpianzi family on Tuesday at the scene where the pupil drowned.

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