A portrait of Enock Mpianzi at his funeral.
- A Johannesburg principal, who was fired following the death of Grade 8 pupil Enoch Mpianzi at a school trip, has been reinstated.
- Malcolm Williams will return to his job on 1 July.
- The Gauteng department of education says it is “disappointed”.
Malcolm Williams, who was dismissed following the death of Grade 8 pupil Enoch Mpianzi at a school trip, has been reinstated to his former post as the principal of Parktown Boys’ High School in Johannesburg, Gauteng.
Williams was fired in December 2020 for his role in the events that led to Mpianzi’s death. In a statement issued on Wednesday, the Gauteng department of education said he was reinstated following a decision by the Education Labour Relations Council.
The department said in its Arbitration Award, the ELRC ordered that Williams be re-instated to his post on the same terms and conditions as before his December 2020 dismissal.
Williams is expected to return to his official duties on 1 July, it said.
The department said:
The Council further ordered that Williams be remunerated for the six months that he had not been working.
Williams faced three charges of misconduct relating to a school trip for Grade 8 pupils, where Mpianzi drowned.
The 13-year-old was swept away in the Crocodile River while attending an orientation camp at the Nyati Bush and River Break Lodge, near Brits in the North West, on 15 January, News24 reported.
He was last seen when a makeshift raft he and other boys were on overturned in the river, hours after they arrived at the camp. His body was found two days later. Williams was found guilty of taking the pupils to the camp without prior approval.
He was found guilty on another charge of failing to ensure a correct roll call for pupils who went on the excursion.
He was, however, found not guilty of the third allegation – that he endangered the lives of pupils by disregarding safety regulations, which says pupils partaking in water activities must wear life jackets.
The department said while it was disappointed, it will study the decision and seek legal counsel on the matter. Gauteng MEC Panyaza Lesufi said: “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.”