Lesufi visits family of siblings who died of suspected food poisoning

Phumzile Mbatha is comforted by Naomi Ngondo
Phumzile Mbatha is comforted by Naomi Ngondo
Image: Thulani Mbele

Leftovers from a meal of pap and meat eaten by two siblings suspected to have died of food poisoning on Tuesday have been taken in for tests.

This is according to Gauteng MEC for education Panyaza Lesufi who visited the children's family on Wednesday morning. 

Sabelo,10, and Sanele,5, from Katlehong in Ekurhuleni died on Tuesday after they started vomiting and complaining of stomach cramps. Their brother Sinenhlanhla,7, was also admitted at a local hospital after suffering similar symptoms. 

Lesufi said the department had launched a forensic investigation into the deaths while leftovers from the meal eaten by the children were being tested by officials from the health department.

Lesufi,  who also visited the school, said they hoped the investigations would reveal the truth and give the family closure. 

"We are in a bad space. We need support.The family deserves closure. They want to know what happened," Lesufi said.  

Sabelo and Sinenhlanhla, both pupils at Kumalo Primary School, were rushed to the clinic by teachers. Their younger brother Sanele was also taken to the clinic after falling sick while playing at home. 

Sanele and Sabelo died while Sinenhlanhla survived.

 The chidren's aunt Sibongile Mbatha said the family was saddened by the loss. 

"I'm shocked and hurt. I want to know what happened," Mbatha said. 

She said the youngest, Sanele, "started calling out for his mother and complaining of having a stomach ache." Mbatha said while they were trying to help Sanele they discovered that Sinenhlanhla and Sabelo had also fallen sick while at school. 

Mbatha said Sanele was also rushed to the clinic and they had to wait while the children were being treated. 

"Later they told us that Sabelo and Sanele had died," said an emotional Mbatha.

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