Insect poison puts safety of teachers and pupils at risk

Mhlaba Memela

Mhlaba Memela

Classes at a primary school on the KwaZulu-Natal north coast have been suspended amid fears for the safety of pupils and teachers.

Four teachers at uMkhobosa Primary School in Esikhawini township were rushed to hospital in a serious condition after they came into contact with a poisonous pesticide.

The school was apparently fumigated on Friday and authorities failed to alert teachers and pupils to the potentially hazardous situation.

Community leaders say the fumigating company and education officials must be held accountable.

According to witnesses, workers who fumigated the school on Friday had left behind the poisonous residue.

Four teachers "absorbed" the insect poison and developed serious distress symptoms.

Netcare 911 spokesperson Chris Botha said one teacher was in a critical condition while the other three were in a serious condition.

Botha said if a pesticide had been used in a building, it could take about four days to clear before anyone could enter.

Councillor Bonguyise Mthiyane said the pesticide company should be charged with "negligence" .

The education department said the pit toilets were cleaned with the chemical on Friday.

Spokesperson Imbali Thusi said they were investigating whether the service was procured by an outside service provider.