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School vs lodge vs schoolboy testimony: three versions of rafting tragedy

Enoch Mpianzi died while at a school orientation camp in Brits, North West.

Enoch Mpianzi died while at a school orientation camp in Brits, North West. 
Image: @CuedaBeat_bhr via Twitter

The investigation around the death of Parktown Boys’ High School pupil Enoch Mpianzi is still under way.

The 13-year-old drowned during a river rafting exercise at a grade 8 orientation camp on Wednesday last week.

His body was found in the Crocodile River at the Nyati Bush and River Break lodge in Brits, North West on January 17.

Here are three versions of what allegedly transpired — according to the school, the lodge and one of the pupils who last saw Mpianzi.

Parktown Boys’ High School

On January 17, Parktown Boys’ High School issued a statement, outlining its version of what happened at the camp where Mpianzi died.

The school said it discovered that Mpianzi was missing on Thursday morning during a roll call.

According to the school, internal emergency procedures were immediately conducted by camp managers, staff and members of the community.

“The headmaster contacted the father to alert him to staff concerns.

“At 3:20pm the headmaster again contacted the father to confirm that all efforts to locate Enoch had failed and shortly thereafter transport was arranged to take the family to the venue. Two trained counsellors from the school accompanied the family.”

The school said it was told about Mpianzi’s death by SAPS search and rescue personnel at

On Wednesday morning, a boy, who cannot be named to protect his identity, gave a chilling version of his side of the story on Radio 702.

To protect the identity of the pupil and to avoid traumatising him again, the interview was voiced by the station.

The boy, who said he was in Mpianzi’s raft activity group, said he told facilitators about Mpianzi struggling in the water, but was ignored.

He said on several occasions he tried to alert Parktown Boys’ High teachers that Mpianzi had been swept away when their makeshift raft overturned in the river.

He said there was no roll call done before stepping on the bus to go to the orientation camp. He said that when Mpianzi’s name was called during the roll call at the lodge’s hall, another friend had raised his hand, but the person taking the roll call moved to the next name.

He said the person told him that there were groups with more headcount and Enoch might be with another group.

The boy said when he and his friend tried approaching a camp facilitator late on Wednesday to tell him that Mpianzi was missing, the “facilitator was rude and dismissed us”.

The boy said his story was only listened to late on Thursday, when he and his friend were taken into a separate venue and interviewed by the police.

He said when they left the lodge, the headmaster told them not to speak to anyone abou

Eastern Cape hall named after Mandela is derelict

Donors have come to the rescue of the Blue Crane Route Local Municipality to repair the Madiba Community Hall.The Madiba Community Hall in Bhongweni township in Cookhouse in the Eastern Cape is derelict, and the Blue Crane Route Local Municipality has taken the blame.

The hall was built in 1994 to honour former president Nelson Mandela. It is the only functioning hall in the whole of Cookhouse because the town hall has not been repaired since it was torched during 2016 protests. It is used for funerals, weddings and community events.

Nancy Jacobs says she has been complaining about the state of the hall.

“Madiba’s good work is known worldwide. To honour him with a crumbling hall is an insult and shame. All our mayors and councillors have no respect for Madiba. How can they have no budget for an important building like this?”

“The doors are falling apart. Some of them can’t be opened anymore. I remember a day when there was a funeral in that hall; a ceiling fell over the mourners. The roof leaks. Toilets are broken and smelly. Mourners have to climb stairs with a coffin because the main door is damaged.”

The caretaker of the hall Xolani Majoko said the hall was not being maintained.

“Cabinets are broken. Women are forced to share toilets with men. Other men pee outside the hall and cause a stink because all the male toilets are faulty. This is not caused by vandalism: the hall is not maintained by the municipality.

“The roof leaks, and the fence is broken. Trees are growing next to the wall and are causing cracks. More than 180 chairs and tables are broken.”But we have secured the donors to fix it.”

He said the municipality had approached the Amakhala Emoyeni Cookhouse Community Trust which had agreed to help. The trust has a 2.5% stake in the Amakhala Emoyeni Wind Farm.

“As for the town hall, we are still struggling to get the insurance to fix it.”

Siya Mbenya, economic development officer for Amakhala Emoyeni Cookhouse Community Trust, confirmed the trust would help.

He said, “Yes, we will help the municipality in renovating the hall. This is part of our socio-economic responsibility. We are just waiting for a formal document from the municipality.

Wreckage found in hunt for CAA plane with three crew aboard

The CAA's Cessna Citation flight inspection aircraft which is believed to have crashed near Mossel Bay on January 23 2020.Quinton Oerson, who works at the Eight Bells Inn in the area where the plane disappeared, said search efforts were being hampered by mist.

Staff had neither seen nor heard anything that might indicate a crash, he said.

“The mountains are still covered in mist, and that makes it difficult — we haven’t seen any smoke.”

He said search and rescue personnel were on site, and the inn had received queries from aviation officials.

The 33-year-old plane was a calibration aircraft used to enforce airport safety both in SA and at airports in neighbouring countries.

The aircraft was grounded in November 2019 after smoke billowed into the cockpit just before take-off from Lanseria airport in Johannesburg.

I hope the crew of ZS-CAR are okay.

I saw them yesterday taxiing out of the Absolutely Maintenance hangar.

I hope they are found.

— Tsontso D. (@goitsediale) January 23, 2020
The Sunday Times reported in December that the twin-engined 12-seater screeched to a halt on the runway on November 8. The take-off was aborted and the plane limped back to a hangar. Both rear tyres deflated as a result of heat generated by the emergency braking.

TimesLIVE understands that the pilot during the Lanseria incident was also at the controls when the plane disappeared on Thursday.

An SAA pilot said on Thursday: “I hope it (the suspected crash) had nothing to do with smoke in the cockpit they’d experienced before.”Air traffic and navigation services immediately activated search and rescue. The regulator is in contact with the search and rescue team for further updates.

“The SACAA will issue a further update later today.”

CAA spokesperson Kabelo Ledwaba said he could not comment on the photograph that appeared to show wreckage of the plane.

Earlier, an aviation source told TimesLIVE: “As they’ve not yet found any wreckage or picked up any emergency locator transmitter signals, they are not yet ready/able to confirm that it has crashed.”The plane, which was used for calibration of airport systems, is believed to have crashed in the mountainous Ruiterbos area between Mossel Bay and Oudtshoorn in the Western Cape.

The CAA confirmed that it had not been able to make contact with its flight inspection unit aircraft which took off earlier from George Airport, east of the aircraft’s last known location.

“The crew, two males and one female, took off at 10.40 (local time) from the George airport on a flight calibration mission of navigational aids of the same airport,” said a statement.

“The air traffic control tower could not make contact with the aircraft 10 minutes after take-off.According to the report, the crew of the Cessna also encountered smoke in the cockpit the previous day while flying at altitude, resulting in maintenance checks on both engines after the plane landed.

“After landing, the crew conducted an inspection of both engines and there was no oil visible on the dipstick on the No 1 engine,” the CAA report said.

The defect was addressed, a ground test of the engines was conducted and the plane returned to service.

“The following morning, the aircraft with four on board was scheduled to depart Lanseria International Aerodrome for a flight to Polokwane International Aerodrome,” the CAA report said. “The start-up and flight profile set-up were uneventful.

“During the take-off roll from Runway 07, the crew experienced smoke in the cockpit. The crew decided to abort the take-off and the aircraft was taxied back to the hangar area before the engines were shut down.

“After the aircraft was parked, it was discovered that the right main-gear tyre deflated and minutes thereafter the left main-gear tyre also deflated. The crew did not report any injuries.”

The plane’s airworthiness certificate, first issued in October 1986, was due to expire in October this year.

This is a developing story.

Mango flight special ends in chaos as frustrated customers lose money for no bookings

Mango has urged customers to contact the airline through its social media platforms.Mango has urged customers to contact the airline through its social media platforms.
Image: REUTERS/Rogan Ward
A flight special run by Mango airlines on Tuesday ended in chaos as hundreds of irate customers complained that they did not get bookings despite parting with their money.

Samantha Singh told TimesLIVE she tried to book a flight from Lanseria, Johannesburg, to Durban for Wednesday evening.

“The Mango Facebook page had a special of flights from R299. My flight was R300. I tried five times and out of that I only managed to reverse two payments. I did not get any flight,” said Singh.

“There is just a blanket response, saying, ‘We have a high volume traffic. We have technical issues’.I sat on the phone with Mango for an hour. Neither did I get my booking done nor my refund. I was literally just cut off.”

She said the initial price of the flight she was trying to book was R281.25.

“All of a sudden, the flight went up to R299 and when I called the contact centre to book it, they refused to give it to me for either R281 or R299. They wanted me to pay R450 for it.

“I tried to fight it and I demanded a refund for the money I had already paid.”

“We hope to get our money back because we don’t know what is going on,” Kubamelo Masinge wrote on Mango’s Facebook page. “I am trying to book flights for Cape Town for 28 Feb — 2 March. Your website is pathetic, your contact centre THE WORST! Can I get someone to help me? You run a special, but don’t have the capacity to handle the influx of traffic.”

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“This is terrible service and the lack of response is pathetic!!! You receive payment yet no booking confirmed now the sale is over? Absolutely pathetic. Honour the payments received by delivering on the flights people booked … It’s the right thing to do,” said Pranitha Ramkissoon.

Mango Airlines’ spokesperson Sergio Dos Santos said they had an “overwhelming” response to the special, which led to technical issues.

“There were a couple of challenges. The system ran into difficulty,” Dos Santos said.

He said the airline was dealing with the queries. “We urge our customers to get hold of us through our social media platforms. We will be dealing with the issues case by case.”

R40,000 reward for KZN taxi driver who helped woman give birth

Taxi driver Nhlonipho Zulu and mother Ntombenhle Mthembu at the event hosted by Santaco in Richards Bay.Taxi driver Nhlonipho Zulu and mother Ntombenhle Mthembu at the event hosted by Santaco in Richards Bay.
Image: via Facebook
Richards Bay taxi driver Nhlonipho Zulu was left speechless when the SA National Taxi Council rewarded him with R40,000 for helping a woman deliver her baby.

“I was so happy because I wasn’t expecting any of it. It encouraged me and my fellow drivers in showing that if you do the right thing you will be rewarded,” Zulu told TimesLIVE on Thursday.

He said he hadn’t decided what to do with the money.

Zulu, a father of one, was hailed as a hero at the beginning of January after he helped Ntombenhle Mthembu deliver her baby in the back of his taxi. He was about to finish his shift when an eight-month pregnant Mthembu told him she suspected she was about to go into labour.Zulu was travelling between Nongoma and Hlabisa at the time and had to drop off two other passengers before rushing the pregnant mother, in her early 20s, to the nearest clinic. However, on examining her, nurses allegedly disputed that she was about to go into labour. The nurses allegedly told Mthembu to go to Benedictine Hospital about 30km away.

En route to the hospital, Mthembu’s agonising screams forced Zulu to pull over and help her deliver the baby.

News of Zulu’s selfless act caught the attention of Santaco who paid Zulu a visit last Friday.

“We decided to host an event for him just to say thank you. This was important for us to do because taxi drivers are often known for bad things.

“So we asked all the taxi drivers to come so we can encourage them and show them how one of their own did such a beautiful thing and that we would appreciate it if they continued to treat passengers well and respect the rules of the road,” said Santaco KZN chair, Boy Zondi.

Santaco gave him R33,500 in cash and they collected R6,500 from other benefactors.

At the event, held at the Richards Bay taxi rank, the organisation also gifted Mthembu R5,000, a gift pack and 500 Pampers nappies. “I was very helpful and grateful for the gifts and the money even the Richards Bay community donated. I want to say thank you for all they have done for me and they must not lose steam and do what they did for me to other people,” said Mthembu.

Mthembu said that her son was doing very well.