Five family members die after eating mushrooms
TRAGEDY has struck a Durban family after five of its members, including a 17-month-old baby, died after eating mushrooms believed to have been poisonous.
Bheki Mkhize, 29, arrived home in Dassenhoek, west of Durban, with the mushrooms on Tuesday last week and gave them to his girlfriend to cook. But, what was supposed to have been an afternoon meal for his family turned into a tragedy.
After eating the meal of mushrooms, Mkhize's family started becoming ill, hallucinating, vomiting, experiencing running stomachs and losing energy.
Mkhize's girlfriend - known only as Xoli - who reportedly cooked the meal, was the first person to become ill after eating the mushrooms.
She died on Wednesday at RK Khan Hospital.
Mkhize's sister Nombulelo, 22, was rushed to Mariannhill Hospital and discharged after getting medical attention.
On Thursday Mkhize's 17-month-old child, Emenhle Mkhize, died at the KwaDabeka Community Clinic.
The man's sister, Nozipho, 24, died on Friday at Mariannhill Hospital, leaving behind her eight-month-old baby.
Nombulelo was rushed back to hospital and died on Saturday. Mkhize succumbed on Sunday at RK Khan Hospital.
Mkhize's distraught aunt, Thembekile Cele, said they had no idea where he got the mushrooms.
She said they only learnt of the family getting sick when they received a phone call from Nombulelo asking them to meet her in Pinetown because she was feeling ill.
"We went to fetch her in Pinetown but she was sick and losing her mind. She was vomiting and she could not even walk," Cele said.
"All we know is that Xoli was from Lamontville, but we do not know her family.
"All the deceased are my late sister's children.
" I have no idea now what to do and how these people will be buried as I'm also unemployed."
The area's eThekwini Metro municipality ward councillor, Sibongiseni Mkhize, confirmed that the deceased people's relatives had asked for the municipality's assistance in burying the deceased.
"What happened to this family is a tragedy. They are a poor family and I will be meeting with mayor [James Nxumalo] tomorrow [today] and bring him up to speed about what had happened," he said.
KwaZulu-Natal health department spokesman Chris Maxon said postmortems would be conducted and only then could the causes of the deaths be known.
Police spokesman Captain Thulani Zwane said that the onus was on the hospitals and the clinic that declared the family members dead to report the deaths to the police for inquest dockets to be opened.