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Gauteng Pupil Deaths: Teddy Bear Clinic Wants Prevention Measures

JOHANNESBURG – As Gauteng schools grapple with what appears to be an increase in tragic deaths, the Teddy Bear Clinic said on Wednesday the focus should be on plans to change behaviour and prevent attacks.

To date, 16 pupils died at various schools in the province under different circumstances since the start of the academic year. Three teachers also died over the same period.

Clinical director at the Teddy Bear Clinic Dr Shaheda Omar said: “These crises are certainly opportunities for us to look at what we can do and how can we prevent this violence, and that is where our focus should now be on prevention. This is not just the responsibility of government.”

Meanwhile, Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi said the recent deaths were taking an emotional toll on his life.

“I’m developing a phone phobia [reluctance or fear of making or taking phone calls], which is something I didn’t have. Every morning I’m scared for a call that comes from the spokesperson of the office because I don’t know what to expect,” he said.

Lesufi was expected to release the long-awaited forensic report into the tragic death of Parktown Boys’ pupil Enock Mpiyanzi on Thursday evening. The teenager drowned at an orientation camp in the North West arranged by his school.