Learners Fall Ill From Feeding Scheme Meals

A feeding scheme at a school in Mamelodi has recently been blamed for the alleged food poisoning of over 100 children who fell sick allegedly after eating food provided by the feeding scheme.

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Parents of students at Vlakfontein Secondary School in Mamelodi have said they fear for their children's lives after many students allegedly fell ill due to eating food provided by the school's feeding scheme. 

About 111 students from the school were taken to health facilities on Wednesday, 19 May 2021 following suspected food poisoning. Authorities at the school said that the students were complaining of running stomachs and abdominal discomfort when the school day commenced. It is reported that majority of the students affected were Grade 12 students. 

"Environmental health practitioners collected food samples from the school for testing. The last meal the learners had from the school was on Tuesday, according to the school authorities,” said department spokesperson Charles Mabaso. 

Parents accuse the management of the school of failing to inform them on time about what happened to their children when they ate the food from the feeding scheme and started getting ill and needing medical attention. One parent told eNCA that it was concerning that the children were taken to medical facilities where people were ill and possibly had Covid-19. 

Mamelodi EFF members are standing with these parents and are demanding that they receive answers and accountability for what happened. Leaders Pretty Morudu and PR councillor Grace Silaule led the group that approached the school's management. They say that students did not want to eat from this feeding scheme because it was not the first time that it had caused them to get sick. 

Pretoria News was also shown a video which shows the students at the school gate asking to be let out so that they could get food from home or buy food outside of the school but the gate was locked. 

Morudu says that the most frustrating part of the incident was that parents were not informed urgently, rather they had to find out from students after school. 

"We want the department to ensure the school allows pupils to go out to buy food from the vendors who used to earn a living by trading at the school many years ago.

“What we do not want is to deal with similar incidents, and for parents to only find out when pupils get home because the principal did not report this on time,” Morudu said.

Department of Education spokesperson Steve Mabona said that investigations were underway to find out what led to the students needing medical attention after eating food from the feeding scheme. 

Mabona says that the school has never received any complaint of such an incident before however Morudu says that the previous incident was not as aggressive as this one. 

The feeding scheme at the school has been temporarily shut down as investigations continue. 

 

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