Anger over pupil’s electrocution death
COSAS calls for legal action against Education Department
THE Congress of South African Students (COSAS) in Limpopo has called on the family of a five-year old Grade R learner, Lethabo Madala, to take legal action against the Limpopo education authorties.
Madala died after being electrocuted at Mutsha Primary School at Thondoni in Vhembe district a week ago.
Speaking to African Times, COSAS provincial chairperson Ntwanano Ngobeni said: “We have heard about the passing of a learner in that area. But when we try to meet with [Education MEC Ishamel] Kgetjepe, he does not want to meet with us.
“We still have to meet with the family of the child in terms of the way forward. We want to make it clear that we will be opening a case as an organization and not as a family. We will monitor the case closely from its development phase until it is solved. We want to determine where the child was going and where she was when she got electrocuted.”
Ngobeni said that they wanted clarity on the conditions of the school and how exposed cables in the school premises went unnoticed by the school management: “We want to know whether the electricity connection was lawful or not. This also lead us to a question of what the principal of the school does with the allocated money.
“They could have simply gone to the streets to get “Vo-Mathulajajini” (illegal electricians) for electricity connection. So, this forces us to open a case against the school and the Department of Education.”
He said more effort was needed in terms of improving the state of schools within the province: “One of the major concern is classes. A lot of schools are still relying on old infrastructure and they have not been changed ever since. Where is the money that is allocated to build schools going because we do not see any improvements?
“As we speak the state of toilets in schools is poor in areas such as Malamulele. We had met with the Collins Chabane Municipality Mayor Joyce Bila to ask what programs are in place in terms of addressing the crisis. She told us that the Department of Education has promised that they will build toilets but till today that has not happened.
“This is very sad to us because a lot of learners are having challenges and they are dying due to issues which the department should have addressed a long time ago. The first incident in which Michael Komape lost his life should have long been addressed but till today that has not been solved. Now a learner has lost her life due to electricity. So, we do not know whether the actions in which the department will take, will favour themselves or the community,” said Ngobeni.
In response to the student body’s planned action, Limpopo Department of Education spokesperson Sam Makondo said: “That is their view and they are entitled to hold an opinion. But it is sad that the school lost a learner in that manner. That is why we are still in contact with the family of the learner. You know it is a loss to us and a loss to the family.”
Police spokesperson Lt.Col Moatshe Ngoepe said investigations were continuing: “It is alleged that a minor child aged five (5) years who was in Grade R at that school was moving within the school premises near the class rooms when she was electrocuted. She died instantly.”