‘Too little, too late’: Enock Mpianzi’s family as Parktown High principal is fired

Parktown Boys’ High School pupil Enock Mpianzi with his mother, Anto Mpianzi. The pupil drowned while on a school excursion.
Image: Supplied

The family of Enock Mpianzi says the firing of Parktown Boys’ High School principal Malcolm Williams on Monday is not enough.

Family spokesperson Guy Intamba, through his lawyer Ian Levitt, said the family accepted the decision of the Gauteng education department to serve principal Malcolm Williams with a dismissal notice.

“The family welcomes the dismissal but feel it’s too little, too late. The family wants justice and the principal’s dismissal is not justice,” Intamba was quoted as saying.

Levitt echoed his sentiments.

“This should have happened a long time ago,” he said.

Thirteen-year-old Mpianzi died at the Nyati Bush and Riverbreak lodge near Brits during a school orientation camp.

In late May, the department announced that Williams, who was suspended in January after the grade 8 pupil drowned, was back at work.

Williams has been charged with three allegations of misconduct emanating from an incident on January 15 2020, where he unjustifiably prejudiced the administration, discipline or efficiency of the department, said Gauteng education department spokesperson Steve Mabona.

“It is paramount to note that the principal was found guilty of the first two allegations, and subsequently not guilty of the third allegation. The presiding officer has, after careful consideration of mitigating and aggravating circumstances, dismissed him accordingly. Therefore, he has a right to appeal to the MEC against the findings within five working days of his receiving the dismissal notice,” Mabona said.

It is alleged that Williams undertook or caused the school to undertake an excursion to Nyathi Bush and River Break in Brits for the camp without prior approval. The second allegation is that he failed to ensure that a correct roll-call was taken of all pupils who went on the excursion.

“The final allegation is that he endangered the lives of the learners by disregarding a set of safety rules and regulations, in that he failed to ensure that all learners who were to participate in the water activities were provided with life jackets — which led to the death of Enoch Mpianzi, Mabona said.

Two weeks after the incident, the lawyers conducted an inspection in loco in which they discovered discrepancies in evidence provided by the lodge.

In March, a report by Harris Nupen Molebatsi Attorneys found the attitude of the lodge manager, Anton Knoetze, “extremely problematic”. He was recorded in the report as saying the lodge did not keep life jackets for river rafting.

“We keep life jackets for tubing, not this activity,” the report recorded him as saying.

When asked whether he knew that pupils had been stranded on an island in the river and had to be rescued by facilitators, he said: “I don’t know about islands.”

BY Kgaugelo Masweneng

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