The Gauteng department of education has announced two more pupils have died in the province from poisoning.
In a statement on Thursday, the department announced the deaths of the siblings – a grade 1 boy and grade 2 girl – from Kaalfontein Primary School, who died on Tuesday after eating the poisoned meat.
Their one-year-old sibling also passed on.
According to MEC Panyaza Lesufi, while the children were at school, their grandmother sprinkled meat with rat poison and placed the container on top of the refrigerator, with the intention to, later at night, kill rats in the house. The grandmother then went to church.
“Back from school, pupils gained access to their grandmother’s rat bait and consumed it. Upon arrival from church, the grandparent found the children watching TV, until she realised that the container she left on top of the refrigerator was now in the sink,” said Lesufi in a statement.
“When probing the situation, they confirmed that they gained access to the poisoned meat and ate it. She immediately gave them milk, and they started complaining about stomach cramps. They were rushed to a medical facility and certified dead on arrival.”
“We wish to convey our sincerest condolences to the family, and the school community,” Lesufi said.
The department has dispatched its psycho-social support unit to the school to offer counselling. The services have also been offered to the bereaved family.
This comes just a week after the deaths of three pupils after consuming poisoned energy drinks allegedly given to them by their father last Thursday.
The boys, aged 6, 13, and 16, were all respectively pupils at Ratanda Primary and Khanya Lesedi Secondary Schools in Ratanda.
According to the department, 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.”