City clears tuckshop over death of Grade 1 learner

By Doreen Mokgolo

Post-mortem results in the death of Grade 1 learner Kedibone Usman revealed that she died from Aldicarb (aliphirimi) –- a pest control chemical used to kill rats. 

The six-year-old fell sick and died in her classroom after allegedly eating biscuits her father bought for her from a foreign-owned tuckshop, while on their way to school in Tsakane on the East Rand on 6 February.

The alleged cause of death contradicts the findings of lab results on the samples of two kinds of biscuits taken from the tuck shop in question.

City of Ekurhuleni spokesperson Zweli Dlamini said their investigations found that the packets of biscuits in the store complied with labelling regulations and the packaging was intact.

“There were no traces of rodent infestation identified and the shop was in satisfactory condition.” However, the shop owner did not have a Certificate of Acceptability and a 14-day statutory notice was issued for noncompliance.

“At the victim’s home [there were] traces of rodent infestation outside the house (barrows and droppings). There were no traces of rodent or pest control poison identified [at the house],” said Dlamini.  

Four other children – aged two, three, six and nine – also felt sick on 6 February after eating the same brand of biscuits bought by their parents from the same shop. They were rushed to Pholosong Hospital and survived.  

Kedibone’s grieving father, Lucky Mkhwanazi, told Scrolla.Africa that the lab report showing traces of Aldicarb in her system meant nothing to him.

“I know what killed my daughter. What I need now is for the tuckshop owners to be arrested and held accountable for putting rat poison near food items they are selling.

“We have a challenge of rat infestation in this area; we don’t use any pesticides because we have small children,” Mkhwanazi said.

The father said he is still struggling to come to terms with his daughter’s death.

“We haven’t received counselling as the local clinic promised to contact us once the psychologist is available. 

“It is not helping that some residents are blaming me for her death. How can I intentionally kill my daughter? What about the other four children who also ate the biscuits and fell sick?” he asked. 

Pictured above: Kedibone Usman laid to rest.

Image source: Supplied 


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