CAPE TOWN – The deaths of three children in Cape Town on Monday, apparently from ingesting poisonous food, are being investigated by police.
The children, from Samora Machel informal settlement, were between the ages of 3 months and 6 years old, said Western Cape police spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Andre Traut on Tuesday.
Traut did not confirm the cause of death, saying that death inquests had been opened and post mortems would be conducted.
The Western Cape health department said on Tuesday that only one child had died from ingesting poisonous food.
Three adults and four children were affected by the poison on Monday, said spokesperson Darren Francis.
It was understood that organophosphates were found on meat portions, although it was not clear where it came from.
Organophosphates are most commonly used in commercial insecticides.
The group of chemicals are responsible for a number of poisonings and affects a large number of organs and physical processes, according to Toxipedia.
Francis said the children were taken to the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital in a serious condition.
A man was currently in a critical condition at Groote Schuur Hospital. A female patient had been discharged from Mitchell’s Plain Hospital.
Francis said they alerted the SA Police Service, environmental health and the city’s disaster management team to co-ordinate and investigate the alleged circumstances around the poisonous food.