Pupils ill after eating chocolates

EASTERN Cape health authorities are testing chocolates sold by a school vendor after nearly 50 pupils at Peddie’s Nathaniel Pamla High School were treated for vomiting and runny tummies last week.

About 48 pupils were taken to nearby Nompumelelo Hospital, where they were treated for stomach-related symptoms on Friday after eating the chocolates sold at the school gate.

A staff member, who did not want to be named, said pupils started showing signs of illness on Friday.

“They were taken to hospital, treated and discharged the same day, except for two pupils who will probably be discharged today [yesterday],” she said.

“Most are back at school already and everything seems fine.”

Principal Mluleki Mrwebi declined to comment, referring queries to Eastern Cape Education Department spokesman Loyiso Pulumani.

Health Department spokesman Sizwe Kupelo said samples of the chocolates were sent for testing.

“The tests will determine what made the pupils sick and once that is done, we will issue a report on the findings,” he said.

According to a source, Mrwebi was furious about the incident because he had allegedly banned vendors from selling junk food at the school last year.

“The woman who sold these chocolates to the students was way too emotional. She was asked to show where she bought the chocolates – it was from a shop owned by a foreigner.

“Parents are also angry, [saying] they need answers. Unfortunately, the cause is still unknown as research continues,” the source said.

Pulumani said district officials had visited the school.

“In consultation with the Health and Social Development departments, they will set up a committee to regulate what is being sold to pupils by aunties at the gate.”

-Zandile Mbabela 

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