17 November 2017

South Africa: Komape Family Haunted By Their Son's Pit Toilet Death - Psychologist

Photo: Supplied
Posters commemorating Michael Komape who died after he fell into a pit toilet at Mahlodumela Primacy School in Chebeng Village, outside Polokwane, on 20 January 2014.

The family of the Limpopo schoolboy who died after falling into a pit toilet three years ago suffered severe psychological trauma, the Limpopo High Court heard on Friday.

Clinical psychologist Steven Molepo was testifying during the civil litigation hearing brought by Section 27 on behalf of the Komape family.The family is demanding compensation from the Limpopo department of basic education for Michael's death. The 5-year-old fell into a dilapidated pit toilet at the Mahlodumela Primary School in Chebeng village north-west of Polokwane on January 2014.

Michael had just started Grade R when he fell into the toilet.

After his death, the family claims that they were left to nurse the psychological scars triggered by Michael's death when he drowned in human faeces.Molepo testified that during his interview with the family, he learnt that they had drifted apart and suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Molepo said that some members of the family were haunted by Michael's death and struggled to sleep.He said they had expected the department of education to apologise or comfort them when their child died.

The hearing is expected to continue on Monday.

On Wednesday Michael's father, James Komape, testified that government officials should have stepped in to help the family because they did not have money to bury their child."They should have helped. My son was going to school. I did not send him to die," said James Komape.


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