Anger over pupil’s elec­tro­cu­tion death

COSAS calls for le­gal ac­tion against Ed­u­ca­tion Depart­ment

African Times - - Front Page - BUKUTA NKUNA

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.”

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