Sat, 29 Feb 2020

A Grade 8 boy of Parktown Boys' High School attending an orientation camp at a lodge near Brits in North West has been missing since Thursday morning following a water activity.

The school issued a statement on Friday morning stating that the Grade 8 group arrived at camp on Wednesday.

"On Thursday morning, it was realised that a boy had gone missing from the camp. Emergency procedures have been instituted by camp management and are being assisted by members of the local community and the SAPS Emergency Services," the statement read.

"Police search-and-rescue are on site and are already at work in the area of the river where a water activity was held after the boy's arrival. The parents of the missing boy are at the venue."

The school said the search was continuing.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the family during this traumatic time."

Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi tweeted: "I am sadly informed that during the Parktown Boys Grade 8 Orientation Camp in Mpumalanga (sic), one learner couldn't be accounted for after a water activity. Police search-and-rescue are on site in the area of the river where a water activity was held. I will also join the search."

Lesufi later added: "Rescue teams suspended the search last night. They will resume with the search [on Friday] morning. Jointly with the school we've agreed to cancel the camp. The boys will have their breakfast [on Friday] morning and thereafter be taken back home. We remain hopeful."

On Friday morning, Gauteng Education Department spokesperson Steve Mabona said Lesufi joined the team at the lodge on Friday morning to interact with the family and "observe the search-and-rescue team accordingly".

"We have jointly [taken] a decision to suspend the Grade 8 camp programme as a result of this incident. The boys left the lodge [on Friday] morning and can be expected back at school by 10:30," Mabona said in a statement.

"Our psycho-social unit will be at school to assist with necessary counselling to the school community."

A missing person's report has been filed and anyone with information is urged to contact Detective Constable Netshiunda Assen on 079 607 6844 or 012 252 8520.

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