Ekurhuleni metro police officers were dispatched to several schools in Tsakane, east of Johannesburg, in response to ongoing protests.
The demonstrators are reportedly outraged by the tragic death of a grade 1 student from Mandlethu Primary School.
The child passed away on Tuesday after consuming biscuits purchased from a local spaza shop. This unfortunate incident is the latest in a series of deaths in Gauteng that have been linked to food bought from these small convenience stores.
In a previous case in October, a grade 3 pupil from Tiro Primary School in Tshepisong, Roodepoort, also lost their life in a suspected instance of food poisoning. The Gauteng Department of Education has confirmed that the police are currently investigating the circumstances surrounding the child’s death.
According to Xolani Mkhwemte, spokesperson for Gauteng Education MEC Matome Chiloane, the parents have verified that the child had indeed consumed biscuits purchased from a spaza shop owned by foreign nationals.
In light of these incidents, the Department of Education urges parents to exercise vigilance when it comes to the food items their children consume.
They also call upon law enforcement agencies and municipalities to enforce stricter compliance measures regarding the products sold at spaza shops. To support those affected by these tragedies, the department will deploy the Psycho-Social Support Unit to provide trauma support and counselling.
Thabiso Makgato, spokesperson for the EMPD, stated that the learner was declared deceased by paramedics at the school premises. Law enforcement officers are currently on-site to monitor the disruptions and appeal to all involved parties to respect the law and refrain from engaging in any form of criminal activity.
It is crucial that the community and relevant authorities work together to address the underlying issues and ensure the safety and well-being of all learners.