Michael Komape trial

Michael Komape fell into a pit toilet at his school on 20 January 2014, and drowned. His parents are suing the state for approximately R3 million. They also want to compel the state to provide decent sanitation at schools across Limpopo Province.

Here are GroundUp's reports from the court case.

Photo of James and Rosina Komape

Preview: Parents of drowned child seek justice

Michael Komape died in a toilet at school. Now James and Rosina Komape are going to court to compel the state to provide decent sanitation to schools across Limpopo.

By Ciaran Ryan - 12 November 2017
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Day 1: Mother tells court how she found her son dead in school toilet

First day in damages trial of the death of Michael Komape

By Ciaran Ryan - 13 November 2017
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Day 2: State attempts to discredit parents in Michael Komape trial

Advocate asks if death of five-year-old who drowned in toilet was any different from death by sickness or car accident

By Ciaran Ryan - 14 November 2017
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Day 3: Pathologist describes finding faeces in child’s lungs

Michael Komape’s sister breaks down in court

By Ciaran Ryan - 15 November 2017
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Day 4: State claims family wants to get rich out of Michael Komape’s death

SECTION27 accuses state lawyer and Department of Education of attempting to trivialise the family’s suffering

By Ciaran Ryan - 16 November 2017
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Day 5: Psychologist describes suffering of drowned boy’s family

Mother distant and withdrawn, battles with ongoing sadness and depression

By Ciaran Ryan - 17 November 2017
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Day 6: Court hears of terrible condition of Limpopo’s school toilets

Photographs shows that the school toilets where Michael Komape died were in poor condition

By Ciaran Ryan - 20 November 2017
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Day 7: Limpopo education department a “quagmire” of maladministration

“We drew attention to life-threatening situations in schools … it is not good enough to say there is no budget.”

By Ciaran Ryan - 21 November 2017
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Day 8: Education department had funds to fix toilet in which Michael Komape drowned

Expert witness gives damning testimony against Limpopo government

By Ciaran Ryan - 22 November 2017
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Day 9: State offered a pauper’s burial for Michael Komape

Department of Education contests that it could have fixed dilapidated toilets

By Ciaran Ryan - 23 November 2017
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Day 10: Calls for help from Michael Komape’s school unanswered for years

Former principal’s testimony supports the family’s claim against the state

By Ciaran Ryan - 27 November 2017
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Day 11: Court hears of witness to Michael Komape’s death

Boy who drowned in toilet could have been found sooner

By Ciaran Ryan - 28 November 2017
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Day 12: Lawyers for Michael Komape’s family demand compensation for grief

State admits liability; court to decide how much money to award the family

By Ciaran Ryan - 1 February 2018
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Michael Komape died because he was a rural African child, says lawyer

Court asked to compel state to fix “dire” state of school sanitation

By Ciaran Ryan - 2 February 2018
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Bereaved father starts drive to fix Limpopo schools

“I don’t want my son to be forgotten. I want his name and memory to live on.”

By Mary-Anne Gontsana - 20 March 2018
Photo of James and Rosinaa Komape

Dismay as judge dismisses damages claim for child who drowned in pit toilet

“Failure to award damages in this case stands in contrast to the damages that were awarded” to Life Esidimeni families, says SECTION27

By Ciaran Ryan - 23 April 2018