Unspeakable tragedy of 3rd floor fall

Mfundekelwa Mkhulisi

Mfundekelwa Mkhulisi

"We did not call the police. They must come to us."

These were the words of Johan van der Walt, director of Global College Primary College, in Kempton Park, where a six-year-old pupil fell from the third floor and died in hospital.

Mpho Kekana of Liliba in Tembisa, was allegedly pushed from the third floor by another pupil and fell on the concrete paving below at her school last Wednesday.

She was rushed by paramedics to the Pretoria Academic Hospital, where she died the next day. By yesterday afternoon, the school's management had not informed the police about the tragedy.

"It is not our responsibility to call the police," said Van der Walt.

School principal Elizabeth Engelbrecht said she had heard from other children that Mpho had been pushed, but she did not "take it seriously".

"Pupils were told not to go upstairs because the teachers were busy seeing children safely off the bus," said Ina le Roux, the school's manager.

Pupils ignored the instruction and went upstairs unsupervised.

Mpho's mother Thami Bathla said the school had been unsympathetic towards her.

"I thought the police had been informed, but they haven't."

Bathla said the school must take the blame for what happened to Mpho because they were negligent.

"How can you have five- and six-year-olds in such a high building without railings?" she asked Van der Walt, who did not have an answer.

Panyaza Lesufi, Department of Education spokesman, said they had sent a team to investigate.

"If we find that there was an inch of negligence, we will strip them of their licence." Lesufi said.