More Gauteng pupils fall victim to spaza snacks

Two men in front of Spaza shop: Image REUTERS/Mike Hutchings (SOUTH AFRICA - Tags: BUSINESS SOCIETY)

Two men in front of Spaza shop: Image REUTERS/Mike Hutchings (SOUTH AFRICA - Tags: BUSINESS SOCIETY)

Published Oct 24, 2023


Deadly snacks bought at spaza shops around Gauteng have claimed the life of a Grade 3 pupil from Roodepoort.

The Gauteng Department of Education confirmed on Friday that a Grade 3 pupil from Onkgopotse Tiro Primary School in Tshepisong, Roodepoort, had died at the local clinic as a result of food poisoning.

The department’s spokesperson Steve Mabona said it was alleged that two Grade 3 boys from the school started complaining of stomach cramps in class and had to be rushed to the nearby Tshepisong Clinic.

Mabona said that within minutes of receiving medical attention, one of the boys was certified dead, while the other was transferred to Leratong Hospital for further medical attention, and remained in a stable condition.

“According to information at our disposal, it is alleged that the two learners bought and consumed a packet of biscuits from a local spaza shop in the area.

“We wish to convey our sincerest condolences to the family of the learner, and the greater school community of Onkgopotse Tiro Primary School for their loss. We continue to urge School Governing Bodies, parents and communities at large to be always vigilant about the food or snacks sold in and around schools,” he said.

The incident was preceded by earlier reports of many children from two schools north of Tshwane who had to be rushed to health facilities after having consumed snacks bought at local spaza shops.

Gauteng Education said that as many as 22 pupils from Tlotlompho Primary School in Ga-Rankuwa, Tshwane, were rushed to a local medical facility after falling sick at school in the morning.

Mabona said the affected pupils started complaining and experiencing vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal cramps, and shortness of breath after eating snacks allegedly bought from a street vendor.

In that incident, out of 22 pupils, only four ended up being transferred to the local hospital.

In the second poisoning, 40 pupils from Reimolotswe Primary School in Winterveldt were rushed to a local medical facility after consuming a snack called “dibombolina”, allegedly bought from different hawkers around the school.

Three pupils were attended to at a local facility and discharged, while the remaining 37 were transferred and treated at the local hospital after experiencing similar symptoms as pupils at the Ga-Rankuwa school.

Concerns about fake foods and snacks, especially those sold in and around schools, have come under the spotlight recently after as many as 90 pupils from Pulamadibogo Primary School in Soshanguve Block Y were rushed to hospital after consuming muffins laced with dagga.

Three men have been arrested so far in connection with the ‘space cookies’ poisoning, and face more than 40 counts of attempted murder. They appeared briefly in the Soshanguve Magistrate’s Court recently where they were denied bail.