No results yet on food poisoning at Limpopo school

Alex Matlala

Alex Matlala

The 283 pupils and five teachers from Maatla Primary School in Limpopo who allegedly suffered from food poisoning will have to wait for a week before they know what caused them to become ill.

Phuti Seloba, spokesman for the provincial health and social development department, said yesterday that the results will only be made available sometime next week.

But Seloba assured school management that laboratory technicians were hard at work to find out what exactly caused the teachers and children to get sick.

He said it was not yet clear whether the water that was used to make juice and cook food was contaminated or whether the food was poisonous.

The pupils and teachers vomited, had diarrhoea, fever and headaches after allegedly eating the school feeding-scheme meal.They were admitted to four different hospitals.

By late yesterday two pupils were still in hospital because their condition had not improved.

Parents have taken a firm stand to stop the company, Demnia Construction Company, from continuing the feeding scheme, pending the outcome of the laboratory results.

Meanwhile, the provincial education department said yesterday that there was nothing wrong about a construction company getting a tender to supply food to a school.

Departmental spokesman Ndo Mangala said there was nothing wrong when a construction company operated out of its scope of work.

"The company could be a general dealer that does not only build roads and toilets, but supplies food as well.

"As long as the company does its job with precision and distinction, we have nothing to worry about.

"But we will wait for the laboratory results," Mangala said.

Sowetan has it on good authority that the company also supplies food to other schools in the area.