Khanyisa Mthamzeli died from suspected food poisoning.
Khanyisa Mthamzeli died from suspected food poisoning.

Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security and for Social Services, Alderman JP Smith, says one of three teenagers who died in Langa on Sunday, allegedly after eating vetkoek and polony, had in fact “not consumed any food”.

“Symptoms experienced by all three include foaming of the mouth and stomach cramps. Autopsies were concluded but SAPS will need the toxicology reports to confirm the suspicion of possible drug use or potential other forms of poisoning,” said Smith on the City’s WhatsApp group.

In a statement earlier he said: “The City’s Environmental Health Department is in contact with the South African Police Service in Langa to determine whether a food poisoning investigation needs to be conducted. 

"The autopsies on the deceased will determine the cause of death, but at this stage, SAPS have indicated that it does not appear to be food poisoning and that it appears that the children mixed other substances into their food.”

But the families dispute possible drug use, saying their children only smoked cigarettes.

Friends Athule Makonzi, 15, Khanyisa Mtamzeli and Mzingisi Gobecimele, 17, died on Sunday, apparently after eating vetkoek with polony on Saturday. 

Their friend Athabile Simayile, 17, shared in the meal but survived. He was admitted to Somerset Hospital and discharged on Wednesday.

Athule’s mother, Bulelwa Makonzi, said she was anxiously awaiting the post-mortem report to know what killed her son.

“It’s almost a week since they died and the family want to know the result. We fail to understand why the results are taking this long,” she said.

Police spokesperson Frederick van Wyk said the autopsy results were not yet available.

“Currently police are not investigating a criminal case. At this stage no foul play is suspected. The purpose of the inquest is to establish the cause of death. 

"If through investigation foul play is discovered, then it will be changed to murder,” said Van Wyk.