It has been reported that one learner, Zikhona Mogapi a Grade One learner, has died after falling into an uncovered swimming pool at the school on Sunday. Zikhonas death is one too many at this school in less than three years when four learners died in a fire in 2010.
An acting principal was suspended, charged and convicted by the department for negligence, dereliction of duty, lack of safety and security measures back then. An investigation report recommended very clear safety and security measures to be undertaken as well as constant monitoring by department officials.
Judging by the absence of decisive action and the poor handling of the recent tragedy, one can easily conclude that the report and recommendations from the first incident are gathering dust and webs.
The bickering and protest actions that ensued in 2012 during and after the filling of the Principals post were undermined by departmental officials. They pretended as if everything was normal in that school without providing the necessary support to the newly appointed Principal.
Records prove that no proper induction of the principal was done to sensitize her of the strange situation she would be dealing with.
As SADTU, we have on record since 2009 advocated for the school safety, security and health measures unit to be replicated at district, area office and school level with a dedicated staff compliment. To date, this has fallen on deaf ears as all heads of departments and departmental administrators continue to undermine the need for this unit to exist.
The investigations conducted are unfortunately used to punish the less fortunate and do not serve to provide a lasting solution. Since the dismissal of the principal in 2010, nothing has been done to officials who did not provide support, attended to the needs of the school and monitor implementation and without fail.
We hope the investigation into the death of this learner should accordingly take place. Its findings and recommendations should be fully implemented without exception in order to restore the reputation of the school. This will assist the family and the school community to find closure.
We hope the wellness of the learners, bereaved family, staff members, the SGB and the entire community has been prioritized. Surely the family must not be made to suffer more with having to take care of funeral costs and arrangements alone.
Zikhonas memorial service will be held on Thursday, 19 September, 2013 at 11h00 in the schools Dining hall.
SADTU would like to send its heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family and wish them comfort during these trying times.
ISSUED BY: North West SECRETARIAT
North West Deputy Provincial Secretary Thabo Sematle 082 809 0064