South Africa

Enock Mpianzi: Parktown Boys' High principal reinstated — what's next?

Enock Mpianzi: Parktown Boys' High principal reinstated — what's next?

Parktown Boys' High School principal Malcolm Williams will return to work on July 1.

The Education Labour Relations Council (ELRC) ordered the department to reinstate Williams from December 8 2020, the day he was dismissed.

Williams was fired after the death of Enock Mpianzi. The 13-year old grade 8 pupil died at the Nyati Bush and Riverbreak lodge near Brits during a school orientation camp.

An investigation by Harris Nupen Molebatsi Attorneys into the death of Mpianzi pointed to “negligence and extreme recklessness” on the part of Nyati Bush and River Break lodge, the school and the teachers who had accompanied the pupils to the camp. 

What's next for the department? 

The department of basic education in Gauteng said it was disappointed by the ruling. It said it will seek legal advice on the matter and study the decision of the ELRC. 

“We are not fully happy about the outcome of the case but also realise that this matter has been dragging for too long, negatively affecting all who are affected. In that light, we will look for advice from the experts with a view to finding a lasting resolution to the matter,” said Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi.

What's next for the principal?

TimesLIVE reported the department was also ordered to pay Williams an amount of R285,594 for the six months he had not been working. This must be paid by July 30.

He will return to work on July 1.

What's next for those implicated in the department?

Sunday Times Daily reported that an application by Parktown Boys to undertake the trip did not reach the district director's office because the intern who received it was on a temporary assignment and put it in a desk drawer.

The paper reports that two departmental officials were each suspended for three months for the intern's action. 

What's next for the lodge? 

Anton Knoetze, the owner of Nyati Bush and River Break, told the Sunday Times last year he had turned to cabbage farming, among other things, to help his business survive after Mpianzi's death.

The lodge is now named Beestekraal Events & Accommodation. He told the paper the business had stopped doing business with children, though school camps were advertised in the venues new signage. 

Knoetze said the rebranding was influenced by Mpianzi's death and the Covid-19 pandemic. 

What's being said?

The decision was met with wide-ranging reactions on social media.

Some users claimed Williams should not have been reinstated, while others urged education MEC Panyaza Lesufi to challenge the decision.