Winterveldt: Residents demand answers after pupil deaths

Three Ema Primary pupils died after consuming government- supplied food & snacks from another source.

Ema Primary School in Winterveldt, north of Pretoria. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The family of two pupils who died after eating food at their primary school in Winterveldt, north of Pretoria, have called on authorities to speed up the investigation and arrest those responsible.

Three learners at the Ema Primary School died last week.

They'd apparently eaten government- supplied food and snacks from another source and died at a local clinic near the school on Thursday.

Klaas Mahlangu lost two children.

He says, "I need answers because the community is very confused and parents are very angry. I demand the correct answers and I demand that a case be opened. If they find those people, they must be locked up and rot in jail."

The Basic Education Department is investigating the matter.

The department's Panyaza Lesufi has said 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.

Meanwhile, community members have threatened to burn down Ema Primary School after the deaths.

But Mahlangu said, "We cannot burn our facilities, our children have to learn.