Investigation begins after gr. 7-girl’s death

Henry

The Gauteng Education Department has appointed an independent law firm to investigate the death of Latoya Temilton (12), a gr. 7 learner from Queenswood Primary School, to be investigated.

The firm, Nchupetsang Inc Attorneys, was introduced on Monday during a media conference at this school in the Pretoria Moot.

Timelton died last Saturday when the school took its newly elected learner council on a day trip to the Wag-Œ-Bietjie campsite in Olifantsfontein. Latoya is presumed to have drowned.

Meshack Nchupetsang, Nchupetsang’s CEO, outlined the framework of the investigation at the conference.

He says interviews and discussions with stakeholders including learners, teachers, members of the governing body, school management, family members and the school principal, Rico Ludick, will be at the forefront of the investigation.

The firm will also visit the campsite where Latoya’s body was discovered in a water source. As part of this visit, interviews will be conducted with employees, while the firm will also analyze footage from CCTV cameras.

According to Matome Chiloane, the MEC for education in Gauteng, the firm will also liaise with the police to analyze the results of the post-mortem. There will also be discussions with Latoya’s family members – specifically about the rumors being spread publicly.

In an interview with Newsroom Africa last week, Latoya’s relatives said it was understood there was no surveillance at the area where Latoya drowned.

These rumors were also repeated by a mother from the school on the radio station 94.7.

It was also alleged that two learners had to pull Latoya’s lifeless body from the water source. The water was apparently dark and therefore one could not immediately see that someone was in the water.

According to the department, the firm will complete their investigation within seven days.

“The recommendations arising from their findings will be strictly applied by the department,” said Chiloane.

The firm has not yet been introduced to Latoya’s relatives, as the family is still in Mpumalanga. Latoya was buried in her hometown, Moremela, in this province on Saturday.

“However, the department will facilitate the necessary liaison between the family and the law firm, as they (the family) are an integral part of the investigation and must be given the necessary respect in this regard.

“The school has also ensured their full cooperation in the investigation, which is extremely important in light of the allegations and the circumstances surrounding the incident. As a department, we want to prevent similar incidents in the future,” said Chiloane.

When asked last week, Ludick told RNews that although the school would like to state their side of the matter, they have been advised by the department not to speak “to anyone about the tragic accident” for the time being.