‘Negligence killed drowned Daveyton teens’

By Doreen Mokgolo

The families of Siphamandla Peterson, 15, and Sibusiso Sibiya, 17, are demanding that the Gauteng Education Department takes action against the people responsible for their deaths. 

This comes after information, photos and videos were leaked, revealing the abuse and physical assault the learners were exposed to during the four-day “discipline camp”. 

The 90 learners from the Daveyton Skills School on the East Rand were at a camp organised by a non-profit organisation, Rising Star Generation, at Rock Falls Adventure Ranch in Centurion, Tshwane. 

On its Facebook page, Rising Star Generation describes itself as a “Youth Development NPO that trains young people to become leaders of change and competent in their own fields. Drill out the talent and install discipline”.

The families believe the boys’ deaths could have been avoided had the school followed precautionary measures and had lifeguards on site. 

It is alleged that Siphamandla ran off from the group of learners towards the Hennops River and jumped in. Sibusiso jumped in to rescue him, but they both drowned. 

Gauteng Education MEC Matome Chiloane visited the school on Wednesday and said he was disappointed that the allegations of abuse at the camp were not shared with him earlier; and that he only found out when he visited the Sibiya family on Wednesday afternoon. 

“We will appoint an independent law firm that will assist us to get to the bottom of what happened at the camp,” he said. 

“Preliminary findings reveal that the trip was not known about or approved by the [relevant Gauteng Education Department] district. 

“Only one social worker [from the school] attended the trip to take care of 90 learners,” he said. 

Chiloane said that processes for the immediate suspension of those implicated in arranging the trip are underway. 

Sibusiso’s uncle, Sibusiso Sibiya, said some of the learners who went on the trip were still traumatised and had suffered injuries. 

“They allege as part of the discipline they were repeatedly assaulted and woken up at 3am by dogs pulling them by their clothes,” Sibiya said. 

“Even on Monday night, the traumatised learners were dropped off at pickup points which were far from their homes and their families were not informed, as agreed. 

“All we want is answers as to why our children had to be forced into that situation and why they needed to be disciplined,” he said. 

Another parent, Simangele Mahlangu, said one of the learners was paid R400 for rescuing one of the facilitators who had jumped in to rescue the two learners. 

Sibusiso’s grandmother Nomusa Mathebula said she found out about the incident from the media. 

“I was watching TV on Monday afternoon when I heard that two children drowned and I remembered that my grandson was also attending a school trip in Tshwane. 

“Soon after that, I received a call from his mother to say that he had drowned. All we want is answers; we want justice for our son,” she said. 

Pictured above: Siphamandla Peterson and Sibusiso Sibiya.

Image source: Doreen Mokgolo 

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