Five of the six people thought to have ingested a substance which made them collapse in Wetton, Cape Town, are still in a critical condition, the City of Cape Town’s health MMC Zahid Badroodien said on Tuesday.
“The South African Police Service is looking into the matter to establish the circumstances that led to this incident,” he said, echoing an earlier statement by Western Cape police.
Once formal notification had been received as to the cause, the City’s Environmental Health Department will conduct further investigations into what they ingested, its source and other circumstances leading up to the emergency.
“We do not want to speculate on the possible cause until blood tests or clinical samples have been completed and interviews with those affected have been conducted,” he said.
He asked for patience during the investigation, which will hopefully give the victims and families some answers.
The outcome of the investigation will also help decide if further action is needed to avoid a recurrence.
On Monday morning, a group of people collapsed at three different locations along Wetton Road in Ottery.
Eyewitnesses ran to help and paramedics rushed up and down the busy road tending to more and more people who had suddenly become very ill.
Kaashief Bassadien said he counted at least 12 people affected as he ran to help. One was battling to breathe and vomited.
Three eyewitnesses who spoke to News24 said it happened shortly after the handing out of food and drinks to people, some of whom walk the streets looking for work.
Comment was not immediately available at the premises of the claimed source of the donated food.
Police spokesperson Colonel Andrè Traut said a criminal case had not been opened at this stage but Lansdowne police were investigating.