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Ratanda father charged with murder for allegedly poisoning sons

A Ratanda father, whose three children died after consuming an energy drink that he allegedly gave them, has been rushed to hospital. Picture: Se-Anne Rall

A Ratanda father, whose three children died after consuming an energy drink that he allegedly gave them, has been rushed to hospital. Picture: Se-Anne Rall

Published May 27, 2022

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A Ratanda father, whose three children died after consuming an energy drink that he allegedly gave them, has been rushed to hospital. Police have confirmed that the father has been charged with three counts of murder and one of attempted murder.

Police said the man was found unconscious at their home just outside Heidelberg in Gauteng.

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According to police spokesperson Brigadier Brenda Muridili, officers went to the home after the children died at school. They discovered the father and he was taken to hospital where he remains under police guard. Muridili said the father was suspected of poisoning his sons.

According to preliminary reports, the father gave his five sons something to drink on Thursday morning.

Four of the boys consumed it and later fell ill.

Three of the boys, aged 6, 13 and 16 had gone to school where they began experiencing stomach pains. The boys collapsed and died at school while the fourth brother was rushed to hospital in a critical condition.

Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi said the fifth child did not consume the drink.

The deceased brothers attended Ratanda Primary and Khanya Lesedi Secondary schools in Ratanda.

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“Firstly, I wish to convey my sincerest condolences to the family, particularly the mother of the deceased learners. I further extend my condolences to friends, fellow learners and teachers of the learners, especially those who had witnessed these tragic incidents,” Lesufi said.

The cause of the boys’ deaths had not been confirmed, he added. Law enforcement agencies were investigating.

The Gauteng Department of Education has dispatched its Psycho-social Support Unit to the affected schools to offer counselling. The services have also been offered to the bereaved family.

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Lesufi is expected to visit both schools and the family on Friday.

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