Citizen Reporter
2 minute read
26 May 2022
5:29 pm

Energy drink tragedy: Three siblings die at school, one in critical condition

Citizen Reporter

Brigadier Brenda Muridili said when police visited the home of the boys, they found the boys’ father unconscious in the house.

Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi briefs media at Bryanston High School in Johannesburg, 25 May 2020. Picture: Nigel Sibanda

Three pupils have died and while one is in a critical condition after consuming energy drinks allegedly given to them by their father on Thursday, Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi, has announced.

The boys, aged 6, 13, and 16, were all respectively pupils at Ratanda Primary and Khanya Lesedi Secondary Schools in Ratanda.

According to preliminary reports, the four pupils consumed energy drinks after arriving at school on Thursday.

“Sadly, two of the said pupils died shortly at the school after complaining of stomach pains while one was rushed to the nearest hospital, but died on the way. The fourth sibling is in a critical condition at the hospital while the fifth, fortunately, did not consume the energy drink,” said Lesufi in a statement.

“Firstly, I wish to convey my sincerest condolences to the family, particularly the mother, of the deceased pupils. I further extend my condolences to friends, fellow pupils and teachers of the learners, especially those who had witnessed these tragic incidents.”

Brigadier Brenda Muridili said when police visited the home of the boys, they found the boys’ father unconscious in the house.

“He was taken to hospital under police guard as it is alleged that he might be involved in the alleged poisoning of his children,” said Muridili.

The SAPS Forensic Specialists were also called to the scene. The police will await the postmortem results which will determine the exact cause of death.

A case of murder and attempted murder has been opened.

ALSO READ: Lesufi warns of more pupils consuming ‘space cakes’ in Gauteng

Law enforcement agencies are investigating circumstances surrounding the deaths.

The Gauteng Department of Education has dispatched its Psycho-Social Support Unit to the affected schools to offer counselling to the school community at large. The services have also been offered to the bereaved family.

MEC Lesufi will visit both schools and the family on Friday.

This comes a week after a grade 10 pupil was stabbed to death allegedly by a grade 9 pupil at Thaba-Jabula Secondary School in Pimville, Soweto.

According to the department, the incident happened on school premises during break time as the grade 9 pupil was allegedly his bullied younger brother.

“We strongly condemn the violent behaviour that took place and we always encourage pupils to report incidents of bullying so that disciplinary action is taken against perpetrators, revenge can’t be a solution,” said MEC Lesufi at the time.