The gr. A 10-year-old student from Garsfontein High School in the east of Pretoria whose body was found on the school’s rugby field on Tuesday morning, her mother last saw her alive at home at midnight on Monday.
Mother and daughter went to bed afterwards and when she went to look for her daughter in her room this morning, she was clear. This according to Matome Chiloane, MEC of education in Gauteng, who visited the school shortly after the young girl’s body was discovered.
Chiloane says that before the mother could report her daughter as missing at the police station, she received the news that a body had been found on the rugby field. The body was identified as that of the missing girl. Her name has not yet been released.
A security guard came across the body shortly after 08:00 near the rugby posts. Paramedics were called to the scene and the young girl was pronounced dead.
“We still don’t know what happened between midnight and 08:00 and hope the police’s investigation yields something quickly,” says Chiloane.
“We can say at this stage that the learner died due to unnatural causes, but cannot yet confirm whether there were other parties or foul play involved.”
A post mortem will have to determine the cause of her death.
“We hope to get the post-mortem report within 24 to 48 hours so that it can give us direction on what we are dealing with here.”
The police will also investigate how the learner gained access to the school grounds. The school is surrounded by a high electrified fence.
“The police will check whether there is possibly camera footage that can shed more light.”
The education department will also make its psychological and trauma service available to learners, teachers and parents.
“Incidents like this stay with a child for a long time. Unfortunately, our children have to learn to deal with such incidents and loss, while they should instead enjoy being children,” says Chiloane.
“This is one child too many. We cannot afford to lose our children.”
Chiloane emphasized during the information session that the focus must be on individual learners.
“Mental health is a big issue in society. Schools must try to understand each learner and know what his or her challenges are.”
A member of the school’s governing body, Liezl Malan, and the deputy principal, Retief Smith, were also present during the MEC’s information session.
On behalf of the school, Malan expressed her condolences to the learner’s friends and family.