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Food poisoning a concern: Department

Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi was concerned by the apparent case of food poisoning at a primary school in Winterveld, Gauteng, that led to the deaths of three pupils on Friday.

This follows reports that the pupils, at Emma Primary School, fell ill after break and were taken to the nearest health facilities, department spokesman Phumla Sekhonyane said in a statement.

The three were examined where it was found they had eaten dough, and later certified dead.

"The department has quarantined all the food served at the school as a precautionary measure," Sekhonyane said.

"The food will be sent for testing. There are also indications that the food might not have originated from the school."

An individual who could not be named due to the pending investigation had come forward and indicated the affected pupils were given cakes and juice from home.

"The police have opened an inquest into this matter and have requested the individual to also keep the left over cakes for testing," he said.

"The department will also put in place an independent investigation into all the circumstances around this incident."

Lesufi would visit the school on Friday to be briefed by school management on the matter.

"He will also visit the families of the deceased to pay condolences," Sekhonyane said.

"A team of the department's psychosocial unit will be dispatched to the school to provide counselling and pastoral care to the families of the deceased, fellow learners and educators at the school."

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