Maverick Citizen


Cradock police confirm investigation into icy classroom terror of Masonwabe (5)

Cradock police confirm investigation into icy classroom terror of Masonwabe (5)
Five-year-old Masonwabe Mapolisa was locked in a Cradock classroom for three icy days. He was taken to hospital in a critical condition after he was found. (Photo: Supplied)

How a five-year-old boy from Cradock came to be locked in a freezing school classroom for three days earlier this month is under police scrutiny.

Police say they have opened an inquiry into the circumstances of an incident in which Masonwabe Mapolisa, a five-year-old boy from Cradock, was locked in a classroom at JA Ncaca Primary School for the duration of a bitterly cold weekend.

Mapolisa was reported missing on Friday afternoon after not returning home from school. His family searched for him all weekend. He was discovered on Monday by the school caretaker, locked in his Grade R classroom a few kilometres from the main school building.

No one has come forward to explain how this could have happened.

Left with no food, water or warm clothing, the child was hospitalised after his ordeal.

That weekend had been one of the coldest this year, and medical staff at the Cradock Hospital struggled to raise his core temperature. He was subsequently airlifted for specialist treatment at Dora Nginza Hospital in Nelson Mandela Bay.

Eastern Cape education department spokesperson Malibongwe Mtima said Mapolisa’s condition had since improved and he had been taken back to Cradock. Mtima said social workers were sent to counsel the child and the family.

Warrant Officer Majola Nkholi confirmed on Monday that police were investigating the circumstances around Mapolisa’s disappearance and what led to him being locked in the classroom.

The child’s great-aunt, Mandlakazi Nothwala, said last week that the school’s principal had refused to tell them who locked the child in the classroom. She said they would take action against the school.

She said the family was also frustrated by education officials withholding information from them. DM


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