Albert Mxolisi Mhaga, the father, who is still weak and has difficulty in walking, with his distraught and grieving wife, Nophelo Sofia Ngqiba, outside their house in Philippi. Picture: Jason Boud/ANA Pictures
Cape Argus - Rat poison may be the cause of death of two children and the hospitalisation of seven others after they ate a chicken stew at the Samora Machel informal settlement in Philippi.

Ntobizodwa Ngqib, one of the family members who ate the alleged poisoned chicken, said that when they inquired further at the police station, the investigating officer told them that lab results came back indicating rat poison in the gravy which caused the death of the two children.

“We were shocked to hear that it is rat poison that killed the children and the police questioned the family on how it may have ended up in the food.We really don’t know.” Ngqiba said. Other family members who were hospitalised were discharged on Wednesday and Friday and are still weak. Anele Ngqiba, 6, and Asemahle Ngqiba, 4, died after eating a cooked chicken, apparently bought from a neighbour at Samora Machel.

Mayco member for safety and security JP Smith said they had received two results.

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“The first result was from the National Health Laboratory which confirmed that organophosphate was the substance that killed the two children and hospitalised seven others.

“The second result was from the City health authorities confirming that bacterial organisms found on the food samples were not enough to cause illness or death. The premises of the street vendor were checked, and the farm where the chicken was bought, and we saw no source of poison.”

Deputy Minister of Communication, Thandi Mahambehlala, visited the family yesterday and said: “I came to show support because the family needs it and Samora Machel is my home township. I was shocked when I was told of this tragedy.” The death inquests are still under investigation.

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Cape Argus