The Education Labour Relations Council (ELRC) has ordered Gauteng’s Education Department to reinstate Malcolm Williams, the principal at Parktown Boys’ High School in Johannesburg. Williams was given the axe after being implicated in the drowning of Enoch Mpianzi, a 13-year-old pupil.

Mpianzi drowned while on an excursion planned by Parktown Boys High School, at the Nyati Bush and River Break Resort, in Brits, January 2020. It is believed that a makeshift raft he and fellow pupils had built in an exercise capsized in the Crocodile River.

He was subsequently found guilty for allowing the trip to take place without the department’s approval and also failing to ensure that a correct roll call was taken on the day of the incident.

“The Gauteng Department of Education, has voiced its ‘disappointment’ regarding the Education Labour Relations Council’s (ELRC) decision to reinstate Mr Malcolm Williams to his former post as Principal of Parktown Boys’ High School in Johannesburg,” said spokesperson Steve Mabona.

Gauteng Education ordered to pay up for Parktown Boys’ principal

Now, the Gauteng Education Department has been ordered to pay the Parktown Boys’ High School principal an amount of R285,594 — equivalent to six months of his salary, by July 30. He is now allowed to return to work on 1 July.

The Gauteng Education Department has further said while disappointed with the outcome of the process, it is studying the decision and seeking legal counsel on the matter.

“We are not fully happy about the outcome of the case but also realise that this matter has been dragging for too long; negatively affecting all who are affected. In that light, we will look for advice from the experts with a view to finding a last resolution to the matter”

Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi

Mpianzi’s death gripped many South Africans and an investigation into the incident found that there had certainly been negligence on the part of the school, as well as the Nyati Bush and Riverbreak camp coordinators, who had failed to appropriately provide oversight. His body was only recovered days later on 17 January 2020, with his disappearance understood to have gone unnoticed for a prolonged period of time.

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Presh JM Reporter

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