A year after his death, Enock Mpianzi's family determined to see justice done

While an independent forensic report found that gross negligence led to his death and the principal, Malcolm Williams, was fired, Mpianzi’s family are forging ahead with their R20 million claim against the Gauteng Education Department.

A picture of Enock Mpianzi is displayed during his memorial service at Parktown Boys' High on Tuesday, 28 January 2020. Picture: Abigail Javier/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Today marks a year since Parktown Boys High pupil Enock Mpianzi drowned while on an unauthorised school orientation camp in the North West and his family is still determined to hold those responsible to account.

The teenager drowned in the Crocodile River when his raft capsized. His body was discovered by police divers two days later.

While an independent forensic report found that gross negligence led to his death and the principal, Malcolm Williams, was fired, Mpianzi’s family are forging ahead with their R20 million claim against the Gauteng Education Department.

READ: Enock Mpianzi's family willing to fight for justice till the end

Last year this time, 13-year-old Enock Mpianzi was looking forward to a school excursion with his mates at the Nyathi Bush and River Break Lodge near Brits.

But by the following day, a missing person’s alert, accompanied by a picture of a shy looking Mpianzi, was circulating on social media platforms.

It later emerged that he had drowned in the Crocodile River during a group activity because he was not wearing a life jacket.

Everyone’s worst fear had come true and Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi sprang into action, confirming Mpianzi’s death moments after his body was recovered.

Gross negligence: Read the report into Enock Mpianzi's death

When Eyewitness News spoke to lodge owner Anton Knoetze, he passed the buck, arguing that the teenager was not a strong swimmer and that he fell for peer pressure.

"The school teachers and principal they were calling around searching, we just went on with our activities. We don't know the kids, we don't know who came on the camp. We just provide the activities."

An investigation later found that the school principal, teachers, the Gauteng Education Department and the lodge were all grossly negligent.

The Mpianzi family is seeking R20 million in damages but the Gauteng Education Department has offered his parents R350,000 each.

At the moment, it doesn’t appear that the two parties will reach a settlement any time soon and this could mean a drawn-out legal battle.

The family's lawyer, Ian Levitt, has challenged the department to rather pay the money they would have spent on legal costs.

"I challenge Mr Lesufi to obtain an estimate from his attorneys as to what his department's legal fees will be in defending our clients' claims and instead of incurring millions in legal fees, offer some of that to our client."

While Parktown Boys High principal Malcolm Williams was fired after the tragedy, the Mpianzis believe that more people, especially those who were meant to be supervising the school trip, must be held accountable.

Enock Mpianzi’s family will be spending some quiet time at home today honouring the Parktown Boys High pupil.

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