- Girl (9) died of alleged food poisoning
- The victims including four children, aged 6, 7, 9, 14 and a woman over the age of 50 years
- Family had consumed a meal which comprised of rice, chicken stew and spinach
- deceased’s body taken by Police for further investigations
Mbabane: One of a family of six – girl (9) died of alleged food poisoning three weeks ago, while three others were hospitalised after having supper at their home at Evusweni in the Manzini region, about 35 kilometres from Manzini City centre.
The victims including four children, aged 6, 7, 9, 14 and a woman over the age of 50 years, had consumed a meal which comprised of rice, chicken stew and spinach. The over 50 year old woman was confirmed as the legal guardian of the three children.
The guardian, Lungile Dlamini nee Russel, told Independent News that no sooner than they have finished their supper, they all started complaining of chest pains, stomach pain and vomiting following which they were rushed to the Raleigh Fitkin Memorial Hospital. While the one died, the four others, girl (6), boy (7), girl (14) and the guardian were treated and discharged after three days.
Narrating the sad ordeal, Dlamini said it was on a Thursday evening around 7pm when she was preparing to dish supper for her family when she was called by some women outside her premises, which she went out to attend and a few minutes later upon her return, she found her 14 year old granddaughter turning and tossing in bed, complaining of severe chest pains. Not realising the severity of the situation the child was in, Gogo Dlamini said she asked the other children to give her (sick child) some water to drink and continued to dish for the other children. She said she did not even bother to call one of her sons, identified as Derick who was reportedly taking a bath in another room more so because she was not anticipating the worst could happen.
Gogo Dlamini went on to reveal that she had taken one full table spoon of the same meal when one of her two grandchildren also started complaining about chest pains and started sweating just after finishing her meal. “While I was attending to the two (girl 9 and girl 14), the other two (girl 6 and boy 7) started vomiting and sweating as well. They all fell down crying, complaining about chest pains,” Gogo Dlamini related.
She added: “While I was trying to attend to my grandchildren, I also suddenly started feeling chest pains, stomach pains and ended up vomiting just like the children.
In what she terms luck, Gogo Dlamini said she was able to raise an alarm and her neighbours arrived within a twinkle of an eye at her homestead.
She said the neighbours and his son Derick tried to give them ‘first aid remedies’ and they called the father of the children, Sikhumbuzo Dlamini, who in turn called the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) personnel but unfortunately, he was told that there were no readily available ambulances that could come to the scene. Independent News has established that Dlamini quickly decided to call the Fire and Emergency Services Department in Manzini which eventually sent an ambulance to the Dlamini homestead to ferry the five victims to the RFM Hospital and sadly, the 9 year old girl was certified dead by a doctor upon arrival on Friday, March 11. The four others were discharged on a Sunday afternoon.
Sikhumbuzo Dlamini confirmed the incident and lamented over the death of his 9-year old daughter.
This publication has also learnt that it is suspected that the family ate a spinach that was recently sprayed with a certain highly poisonous pesticide. It was further gathered that the spinach was brought by the affected children from an unidentified woman, which she bought from a community member identified as Lucky Ndlovu. However, Gogo Dlamini disputed such allegations, arguing that most community members ate the same spinach but did not get sick.
When sought for comment, Ndlovu said he was aware of the incident that took place at the Dlamini homestead. He said the Dlamini family had engaged him and apologised that there were damning insinuations which were being spread in the community to the effect that the children got sick after eating poisoned spinach. Ndlovu said his spinach was too old to spray it, actually he was giving it away to residents for free.
An investigation launched by Independent News into this ordeal has unearthed that there is a family relative who might have been negligent after spraying maize fields. Our sources said the relative allegedly did not wash the containers he was using for the dilution of insecticides at the fields and left it idle within the premises. And it is suspected that the children used the same contaminated buckets for rinsing the spinach.
Independent News managed to get hold of the person (name deliberately withheld) who allegedly gave the Dlamini relative the pesticide for spraying the maize fields. He said the chemical he gave the relative was Master 900.
Nosipho Mnguni, the Deputy Police Communications and Information Officer confirmed the incident, saying police were still investigating the alleged poisoned food that was eaten by the victims.
Mnguni said the deceased’s body was taken for further investigations as police were onto conducting a post-mortem which will reveal the real cause of death.