Enoch Mpianzi’s parents had to borrow the R800 it cost to send him to the Parktown Boys’ High School orientation camp where he lost his life, but could not afford a life jacket, Sunday Times reported.
But his mother Antho Mpianzi and his father Guy Intamba were not too worried because he had reportedly learnt to swim in a pool.
“A life jacket was required from the parents. We didn’t have money for that. It was for them [school staff and organisers] to decide if he could participate, because it is them who took them to the site,” Enoch’s uncle, Sebastien Kodie Motha, told Sunday Times.
“We did not imagine that it is a natural stream. We thought it was a swimming pool where you have different water levels.”
The publication quoted public interest lawyer Richard Spoor as saying the failure of the school and the lodge to provide life jackets – and telling families to provide their own – bordered on the “absurd”.
Nyati Bush and Riverbreak, the venue of the orientation camp, has photographs on its website of children wearing orange life jackets, but it is not known whether the lodge provides them to clients.
Mpianzi was last seen on Wednesday when a makeshift raft he and other boys were on, overturned on the Crocodile River.
The Grade 8 group arrived at the lodge on Wednesday and took part in a “water activity” that involved building their own rafts, according to North West police spokesperson Colonel Adele Myburgh. The pupils were divided into groups of between five and six and took to the water on their self-built rafts.
“It appears there was a very strong current following recent heavy rain in the area. From what we understand, a number of boys fell from the raft and scrambled to get back on to it again. That was the last time [Enoch] was seen.”
Another pupil who was seated next to him on the bus reported Mzianzi missing on Thursday.