Johannesburg - Two children died when they fell into a pit at an early childhood development centre in Nqutu, KwaZulu-Natal social development MEC Weziwe Thusi said on Wednesday.

The children, both aged four, fell into the pit on Monday, Thusi said in a statement.

“As a department we will not rest until we know what led to the children's death. I have ordered an urgent investigation to determine a number of factors including the legality of the centre and compliance with rules and regulations focusing on safety.”

Social workers visited the children's families and the centre on Tuesday to make an initial assessment. Environmental health officials were called to help with the investigation.

“I am also interested in knowing if the staff at the centre are qualified to look after children.”

She said caregivers, especially those working with children, should be vigilant at all times.

“We know that this incident has traumatised the community but I want to call for restraint and for relevant authorities to be given the time and space they need to conduct the probe.”

Trauma counselling would be provided to the affected families and children at the centre.

Sapa