Third death from suspect food
A third person has died from suspected food poisoning after eating at a church function. The woman and 25 others were hospitalised.
The 73-year-old pensioner, Joyce Mvuka, of Bekkersdal near Westonaria in the West Rand, died on Monday night.
The first victim, 10-year-old Lindi Ndlovu, was buried on Saturday. Another victim, Buti Monnaemang, pictured, was buried yesterday after his death on Thursday.
They had fallen ill after eating food at a baptism ceremony at the local AME Church.
About 80 guests had been invited by the Reverend Peter Tlotleng to the baptism of his four-year-old son on February 4.
Food samples were taken by the Department of Health to the National Health Laboratories Services for testing.
But there is now uncertainty over investigations into how the food was poisoned after police said yesterday that the samples collected for analysis went rotten.
According to Tlotleng, the investigating officer, a Constable Lefakane, said the laboratory could not continue with the tests because the initial food sample had gone rotten.
"This is such a blow. We were hoping the results from the laboratory would solve the mystery as to what was in the food," Tlotleng said. "We really need to know."
Residents from different congregations yesterday converged on the Methodist Church for a moving ceremony to bid farewell to Monnaemang.
An announcement during the service about the death of Mvuka sent shock waves and sorrow through the mourners.
One of the mourners said: "Those who have returned from the hospital are blessed. We are afraid death might claim someone else. This is the devil's work."
An emotional Bishop Tshediso Sebi said: "Let us all stick together. If we all must die, let us die having stuck together through this trying time."
Constable Lefakane said: "The initial food samples went rotten and were contaminated, so they could not be analysed.
"We are waiting for Lindi Ndlovu and Buti Monnaemang's postmortems. The investigation will continue from there."