Enraged Winterveldt residents threaten to torch primary school

Three girls died at a local clinic near the school after allegedly eating poisoned cake.

FILE: The girls died at a local clinic near the school in north-western Pretoria on Thursday. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Community members of Winterveldt, north of Pretoria, have threatened to burn down Ema Primary School after the deaths of three pupils there.

The girls died at a local clinic near the school in north-western Pretoria on Thursday after eating government supplied food as well as snacks from another source.

While the Gauteng Education Department says it's investigating all the staff and volunteers who handled food distributed to pupils at the school, the department's Panyaza Lesufi says a preliminary report indicates that all three of the children had also eaten food from a non-feeding scheme source.

"From the feeding programme we provided yesterday, dough or bread was not part of the menu. It emerged that they ate cake, and we did not provide cake. Late last night, a granny came forward to say she had provided the cake." Police said they are interrogating the woman.

Some say the poisoned food came from the home of two of the girls.

But their father Klaas Mahlangu has refuted these claims and called for the principal to be dismissed.

"We wanted to go and burn the school so I said no we cannot burn our facilities, our children have to learn."