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More children hospitalised for food poisoning in Tsakane

Tsakane residents are blaming the government and the Ekurhuleni metro for failing to monitor and inspect foreign-owned tuckshops after four more children were admitted to Pholosong Hospital for suspected food poisoning.

Many say they feel the latest cases could have been avoided had the department monitored and regularly inspected the foreign-owned shops for expired food and counterfeit products.

The uproar comes after six-year-old Refilwe Usman, a Grade 1 learner at Madlethu Primary School, died in her classroom after allegedly eating biscuits her father bought at a foreign-owned tuckshop on Tuesday morning.

Gauteng Health Department spokesperson Motalatale Modiba confirmed that four other children aged two, three, six and nine were admitted for suspected food poisoning.

“They are currently in stable condition and recovering at Pholosong Hospital after they were admitted on Tuesday afternoon.

“After eating the suspicious biscuits bought from a local spaza shop, two children were reportedly experiencing diarrhoea while the other two were asymptomatic and were awake and playful,” Modiba said.

He said since the first case was reported in October, the department had recorded 861 food-poisoning incidents and 11 deaths across the province.

“Food samples including the biscuits have been collected from the shop and will undergo laboratory investigations to determine if there are any contaminants that may have contributed to the incidents,” he said.

“Blood and urine samples have also been taken to the laboratory from the hospitalised children.”

Resident Dimakatso Ngwasheng said it is sad that months after the first reported case of food poisoning, more children have been lost.

“How many more children must die before the government holds those implicated accountable?” she asked.

“Why are the health inspectors not regularly visiting the shops to inspect their products? Where are the results of the samples they took during the first incident? This government doesn’t care about its people but only reacts temporarily when there is an incident.”

Ekurhuleni mayor Sivuyile Ngodwana called on the inspectors to inspect the spaza shop that sold the biscuits.

“We cannot allow such incidents to happen in our communities when we have inspectors,” he said.

“I am calling on ward councillors to work with the law enforcement agencies and to work with the health inspectors to identify shops that sell fake and expired food.”

Pictured above: Tsakane residents.

Image source: Doreen Mokgolo