The MEC of Health in Gauteng, Bandile Masuku, revealed on Sunday that a pupil, who died after falling ill at a school, tested negative for Covid-19.
“It’s important to mention that we are managing a situation that could have led to a problem. We are managing stigma that we might have about the learner, it is of great concern.
“It is quite sad at this point, but because the situation is volatile and people wanted to stigmatise the family, it is within this context that it becomes important to talk about the results in public,” Masuku explained.
Masuku was joined by the province’s Education MEC, Panyaza Lesufi, at the family home in Kokosi in Fochville on Sunday.
The Grade 7 boy from Kokosi Primary School died on Thursday, 11 June.
Not feeling well
News24 earlier reported that the boy was not feeling well when he arrived at the school and was subsequently taken to an isolation room.
Lesufi explained that it was the community who blew the whistle on the matter.
“I contacted the district director, who indicated that the school had already written a report that indicated that, when the learner arrived, our youth brigade picked up that the learner was not in a good condition.
“When they checked the temp, they said the learner should go to an isolation room. Because the clinic is nearby, they rushed the learner to the clinic,” Lesufi said.
The boy, identified as Ben Thafeni, was certified dead on arrival at the local clinic, in the presence of his parents.
“We are indeed in pain, we are in a difficult situation. We share the grief of the family and, on behalf of the Gauteng government, we want to extend our sincere condolences to the family, the school community and the Kokosi community as a whole,” Lesufi said.
A family spokesperson for the Thafeni family says the incident brought the family pain, but they are relieved after learning of the negative Covid-19 result.
“We are happy about the results, the community has since cooled down after learning this. We are now awaiting the post-mortem results that we expect to be ready tomorrow (Monday), so that we can know what happened,” Piet Thafeni told News24 on Sunday.
Note: The name of the boy was released by the Gauteng Department of Education with permission from his family.