DBE backs call for full probe into pupil's drowning at Equal Education camp

Avethandwa Nokhangela (15) got swept out to sea while swimming at a beach near East London on Thursday and her body was discovered washed up the following morning.

Picture: arsenisspyros/123rf.com

CAPE TOWN - The Department of Basic Education on Wednesday said that it supported the Eastern Cape Education MEC's call for a full investigation into the drowning of a pupil on an Equal Education camp.

Avethandwa Nokhangela (15) got swept out to sea while swimming at a beach near East London on Thursday and her body was discovered washed up the following morning.

The girl was in grade 10 at Xolani High School in Zwelitsha. She was at an Equal Education leadership camp at the time of her drowning.

The Department of Basic Education wanted a criminal investigation into the drowning.

It said that a thorough probe was required to ensure that all the facts were established and to hold to account those responsible.

The provincial department said that it had received information about the incident from the police, adding that Equal Education's delay in reporting the matter raised serious concern.

The organisation had sent a letter to the head of the department, Soyisile Nuku, dated 1 May, stating that it was in contact with officials on Friday, a day after the drowning.

Equal Education explained that Nokhangela was with 30 learners and 10 staff members at an annual camp held for pupils elected to serve as Equal Education leaders.

She went swimming with peers during a supervised break and got caught in a rip current.

Equal Education said that it was devastated and heartbroken and described Nokhangela as a kind and vibrant young activist.

The organisation said that at the start of its camps, there were general briefings, which include safety measures and all of those processes took place ahead of this camp.

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