In an attempt to get to the bottom of what led to the untimely death of 13-year-old Parktown Boys High School pupil Enock Mpianzi and the subsequent delay in opening a missing person report, the EFF has offered his family the services of its lawyers.
Attorney Ian Levitt, Advocates Tembeka Ngcukaitobi and Laurence Hodes will be part of the legal team.
EFF leader Julius Malema announced this on Wednesday when he visited the family to offer his condolences.
Accompanied by party spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi and EFF central task team member Vuyani Pambo, Malema said there were more questions than answers surrounding the pupil’s drowning.
“It is all good and well that the SA Human Rights Commission had extended its assistance to the family. But the family still needed its own legal team to get to the bottom of all the inconsistences,” he said.
“We would like to inform the family that Ian [Levitt], advocate Ngcukaitobi and senior counsel Advocate Laurence Hodes are on standby, willing to intervene as lawyers representing the family. And you don’t have to pay anything,” said Malema.
He said Ngcukaitobi’s expertise in constitutional law, combined with Hodes’ vast experience in criminal law, would greatly assist the family in their quest for justice for their son.
The EFF leader said the school, the Nyati Bush and River Break Lodge and the department of education had all failed to take responsibility for the tragedy. He also questioned why the pupils where allegedly left with no supervision.
“When kids go on a camp, it is a simple procedure, when they come back there should have been a head count. Why did it have to take another child to raise the fact that Mpianzi was missing while the teachers did not notice this?”
Malema also argued that the pupil’s death would have been dealt with differently had he been white.
“The parents would have been informed. All types of intervention units would have been agitated to intervene and to ensure that necessary provisions are made. That is how we get treated. A black life is very cheap. It disappears for hours and hours without anyone saying anything, or anyone taking some form of initiative,” Malema said.
“Of course these camps have those things of ‘boys must always be together and that things that happen at the camp must stay at the camp’. It is clear that there was a temptation to cover up this matter and we thank the young man who spoke up and knew that there is an injustice. Therefore there must be a pursuit for justice.”
Enock Mpianzi’s mother ( 2nd from the left) is comforted by mourners at the family home in Malvern on Wednesday afternoon. Picture: Palesa Dlamini/City Press
According to Mpianzi’s uncle, Sebastian Kodiemoka, discussions around the teenager’s memorial and funeral services were still ongoing. Both services might be held on the same day.
“He will be buried here. He was born here, he has never been to [the Democratic Republic of] Congo. He is a South African,” Kodiemoka said.
Mpianzi drowned in the Crocodile River during a school camp last week.