As many South Africans try to deal with the shocking news of the death of three siblings, the extended family of the three pupils allegedly poisoned by their father said they never saw this coming.
The death of three boys, aged 16, 13 and six, in Ratanda near Heidelberg on Thursday, left a family beyond devastated.
Preliminary reports alleged their father gave all his five children “energy drinks” in the morning while they were preparing for school.
Four of the pupils consumed the energy drink after arriving at school and two of them died at the school after complaining of stomach pains.
One was rushed to hospital but died on the way. Family spokesperson Johannes Khoabane said it was a very tough situation for the family because they had no idea why this had happened and were still shocked about the tragedy.
“No one knows, nor understands, why this happened,” he said. “Even the wife has no idea why this happened.”
The fourth sibling was in a critical condition at the hospital, while the fifth did not consume the concoction. Khoabane said the fourth sibling was still under observation, but was slowly recovering.
Gauteng police spokesperson Brigadier Brenda Muridili said the police have opened a case of murder and attempted murder against the father.
According to Muridili, police went to the children’s home in Ratanda, near Heidelberg, where they found the father unconscious.
“He was rushed to hospital on Thursday, where he is being kept under police guard.” Muridili added that there was currently no update on the situation.
Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi, who visited the Ratanda primary school yesterday, said: “Itis the most difficult thing to face when family members leave their kids in our responsibility and now we will have to explain to parents that their kids are no more.”
The SA Police Service’s forensic specialists were called to the scene and the police will wait for the postmortem results, which will determine the exact cause of death.