Winterveldt pupil deaths investigated

2014-09-27 09:30

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Johannesburg - An inquest had been opened into the deaths of three pupils of Emma Primary School in Winterveldt, north of Pretoria, Gauteng police said on Friday.

"We are investigating an inquest at this stage... We are waiting for the post mortem reports and we will take it from there," Captain Kabelo Marumo said.

On Thursday two sisters, aged six and eight, and their eight-year-old friend died in hospital after complaining of stomach pains and high temperatures earlier in the day, the Gauteng education department said.

Spokesperson Phumla Sekhonyane said the department could not release the children's names.

"I think it should rather be the families themselves who should release names. They are still in deep mourning."

The department established an independent investigation into the deaths.

Sekhonyane said there were various possibilities as to what might have led to the children's deaths.

Two theories were circulating about potentially contaminated food.

The sisters had brought juice and cake from home and shared it with their friend on Thursday.

The school ran a feeding scheme, but Sekhonyane said no other reports of illness had been received from the rest of the children who ate the same food.

"We have quarantined all the school's food supply and a new supply was provided. We have withdrawn the staff who were cooking yesterday and they will be interviewed."

The department sent a communiqué to schools with feeding schemes to be extra cautious.

"We have requested the staff at the school to fully co-operate with the investigations."

Counselling was being provided to the families, as well as the staff and pupils of the affected school, Sekhonyane said.

Read more on:    pretoria  |  health

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