Johannesburg – Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga on Monday expressed concern over the start of the 2020 school year being marred by several deaths.
Parktown Boys High learner Enoch Mpianzi drowned while on a school orientation camp on Friday.
The body of Laerskool Bekker Grade 7 pupil Keamohetswe Seboko was found at the school pool last week.
A Grade 11 learner from Mpolweni High School in KwaZulu-Natal drowned.
An 18-year-old pupil from Kopanelo Secondary School was stabbed to death, while two schools were torched in separate incidents.
Last week, the principal of Jabulile Secondary School in Gauteng was shot dead as he stopped his car on the side of the road, close to the school, allegedly to answer his mobile phone.
Motshekga said that a team of officials from the school safety unit had been dispatched to "support and collaborate" with those doing investigations in the Gauteng education department.
She added that the circumstances surrounding the deaths must be “thoroughly investigated” in order to avoid similar incidents in the future.
“We also appeal for patience, and urge members of the public to refrain from speculating, as we await the outcome of the investigations into the drowning of Enoch Mpianzi and Keamohetswe Seboko.
The minister said her department would be working with the affected provinces to ensure that appropriate measures were put in place to prevent the unnecessary loss of life.
She again condemned the torching of schools and theft of school property.
“We have full confidence that law enforcement agencies will find and bring to book those responsible for damages to school infrastructure."
She urged communities to "take back control" by safeguarding educational facilities, and by reporting any suspicious activity to the nearest police station.
African News Agency (ANA)