The families of the two boys aged 4 and 6 who died after allegedly eating poisonous biscuits bought from a local spaza shop have slammed health authorities for depriving them closure.
This is because, more than a week following the death of Leon Jele, 6, and Neo Khang, 4, their families are still unclear of the real cause of death.
The Gauteng Department of Health said it was awaiting lab results which would indicate the real cause of death of the two boys.
“The police are still investigating the matter and you may want to engage with them on the matter. On the general, samples that our team took are still outstanding as we are still waiting for the results,” the department said.
Speaking during the funeral service held at Naledi Hall on Wednesday, Lereko Molapise, a neighbour to the Khang family, said samples obtained from the lab found traces of carbamate, the poison associated with killing of rats.
Molapise slammed pathology services, saying while he was helping the family, he sought answers from the pathologists but was told that the toxicology results would take up to a year.
He said the families when seeking answers had been taken from pillar to post.
“One of the family members was busy on the phone trying to convince the pathologies to give us answers as to what happened to the children, but we are not getting the answers. They are taking us from pillar to post. All the symptoms of poisoning were there. From vomiting, to defecating were there and point to consumption of a poisonous substance. I asked them to give me the phone and asked them about the contents.They said the toxicology report might take up to a year to finalise,” he said.
Molapise said after insisting to get answers, he was told that the children died of unnatural causes and that in their stomachs, there were traces of rat poison called carbamate.
“In my mind, I told myself that this is nonsense. I then asked them what the death certificate would say; they told me that the cause of death is still under investigation. We went to the mortuary and we told them this is our child and we need answers. I walked in… we asked what toxic and foreign substances were found in the body of the child. We were told that they found carbamate which is rat poison in the stomach of the child,” he said.
Rose Chibase, a teacher at Karabo Primary School which Leon attended, urged parents to stop giving children money and instead pack their children lunch boxes.
“We have been robbed of a possible teacher and future president of the country in Leon Jele. We were still nurturing him, but God had decided otherwise. Children are buying things and foods parents know nothing about. They buy poisonous things and drugs that make them high, as parents, I urge you to pack lunch boxes for your kids and not give them money,” she said.
Speaking on the sidelines of the service, Zandile Dabula of Operation Dudula also slammed government for not clamping down on illegal foreigners operating spaza shops.
“We blame government for neglecting South Africans. We want them to start prioritising South Africans and the departments need to start raiding all these shops that are selling poisonous goods to our children.”
Police spokesperson, Mavela Masondo, said the police were still investigating the matter while awaiting post-mortem and toxicology reports.
“The police are still waiting for post-mortem and toxicology reports that will confirm the cause of death,” he said.
Pakistan Association Southern Africa (Pasa) said it wanted law-enforcement agencies to investigate the cause of death of the two children who died after eating biscuits they bought from a tuck shop in Naledi, Soweto, south of Joburg.
The association said should it be found that the food from the spaza shop was contaminated, they expected nothing but the law to take its cause on the matter.
The children were laid to rest at the Olifantsvlei Cemetery, south of Joburg, yesterday.