Enock Mpianzi's family to sue for R10m after river-rafting tragedy

Enock Mpianzi's parents, Anto and Guy Itamba, during the funeral service of their son on February 1 2020.
Enock Mpianzi's parents, Anto and Guy Itamba, during the funeral service of their son on February 1 2020.
Image: ALON SKUY

The family of Parktown Boys' High pupil Enock Mpianzi, who drowned while at a grade 8 orientation camp in January, is suing the education department, the Nyati Bush and River Break lodge where the boy died and the school's principal Malcolm Williams for R10m in damages.

The family of Enock Mpianzi wants the education department, the principal of Parktown Boys' High and the lodge where he died to pay up for his death.
The family of Enock Mpianzi wants the education department, the principal of Parktown Boys' High and the lodge where he died to pay up for his death.
Image: Supplied

This was confirmed by the family’s lawyer, Ian Levitt, on Monday.

“With regard to civil or monetary claims, that will be against the department, the minister, Nyati, the principal and from the civil side. The basis of both those civil and criminal claims is negligence,” said Levitt.

He was being interviewed on eNCA on Monday afternoon - but he also confirmed to SowetanLIVE's sister publication TimesLIVE that the lawsuit was going ahead.

Levitt said while they had lodged the legal proceedings against the school principal, they were considering doing the same against the teachers who were present at the camp when Mpianzi died.

“We are also contemplating going against all the educators who were there.

“This isn’t a witch-hunt, but it is certainly a call to justice - that whoever was party to the cause of Enock’s death will be held to account,” he said.

The 13-year-old boy died during a river-rafting exercise hours after he and more than 200 new grade 8 pupils had arrived at the camp in Brits, in North West. It took teachers at the camp 18 hours to realise that Mpianzi was no longer among the group of pupils. His lifeless body was found a day later in the Crocodile River, where his and his teammates raft had capsized.

Explaining why the department was being sued, Levitt said: “When you sue a school, one of the bases of the claim is that you need to go against the employer. So, to give a simple example, if somebody is a truck driver and is involved in an accident and he works for a company, the company would also be sued together with the truck driver if it is believed that he or she was negligent.”

Levitt said the R10m figure was reached after the family consulted forensic psychologists and psychiatrists.

“The figures will change as and when the experts come back with a figure that is relevant to South African law,” he said.

Levitt said the papers had already been served on all the parties involved.


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