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KZN Education Department awaits autopsy results on pupils' 'food poisoning'

Daily News logo Daily News 2018-10-12 Mphathi Nxumalo
a man standing on a dirt road: Mxolisi Mzulwini died after attending a cram school that was supposed to help him catch up. © Provided by Independent Media Mxolisi Mzulwini died after attending a cram school that was supposed to help him catch up.

Durban - The Department of Education is awaiting post-mortem results to determine whether or not to investigate the death of matric pupil Mxolisi Mzulwini.

The Daily News reported that the KwaMakhutha High School pupil had died last week after falling ill at a matric boot camp at Adams College, eManzimtoti.

Mxolisi, 20, and other pupils fell ill apparently from food poisoning. With no transport, he walked more than 4km home. He was taken to a clinic, given medication and sent home, where he died later that afternoon.

Spokesperson Kwazi Mthethwa said the department was dealing with numerous challenges at the school this year.

Mzulwini’s death is the third in two months.

Two pupils were fatally stabbed recently after trying to break up a fight and, earlier this year, 17 teachers were dismissed for allegedly selling drugs, and/or sleeping with pupils.

Mthethwa said various intervention strategies had been implemented by the department, including having police patrols near the school.

“Security was not only a school issue but a community one, too. The dismissal of the 17 teachers is being dealt with by the human resources department,” he said.

According to Mthethwa, the department would provide a comprehensive update “very soon” on the work done to improve conditions at the school. He said it welcomed all engagements with unions because they were stakeholders.

Thembeni Madlopha-Mthethwa, the IFP’s spokesperson on education, said the party wanted Education MEC Mthandeni Dlungwane to appoint a team to investigate Mxolisi’s death.

“We are extremely concerned that catering companies are looking for easy money instead of providing quality food, and there is very little scope of making money without compromising the quality and quantity. Schools are important settings to promote lifelong, healthy habits,” she said.

Scelo Bhengu, president of the Educators’ Union of South Africa, said it was painful to discuss a matter about someone who had died.

He said the union wanted the department to investigate how the situation was allowed to develop.

“We went to the school and the children and parents were angry and they were blaming the principal who was not involved. They wanted to burn his car,” Bhengu said.

He said yesterday there was a parents’ meeting to discuss the problems that plagued the school.

Bhengu said the school should no longer be controlled by the circuit manager and should be controlled by the provincial education department.

“If this does not happen then one can expect similar incidents to happen in the future.”

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