ActionSA Calls on SAPS Forensics and Eastern Cape Health Department to Act Swiftly on Alleged Food Poisoning Outbreak in Komani and Finalisation of Autopsy Reports in Enyobeni Incident

ActionSA is deeply concerned by the recent reports of an alleged food poisoning outbreak that has affected the well-being of 120 learners from two neighbouring schools in Komani (formerly Queenstown).

This incident follows the tragic Enyobeni Tavern incident from June 2022, where twenty-one young lives were lost, and parents are still awaiting a final autopsy report from the SAPS Forensics and the Eastern Cape Health Department.

It is disheartening to witness another episode of potential harm to innocent children, and it underscores the importance of safeguarding the health and safety of our youth. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the affected students and their families, and we hope for their swift recovery.

The situation in Komani highlights the need for a swift and thorough investigation to ascertain the cause of this alleged food poisoning outbreak. The health and well-being of our children are paramount, and we must ensure that the root cause of this incident is identified to prevent future occurrences.

This incident also underscores the pressing need to address inadequate health and safety protocols and regulations, particularly concerning informal Spaza Shops, which are crucial for safeguarding our community.We commend the efforts our President, Herman Mashaba, who has been a vocal advocate for addressing issues related to spaza shops allegedly selling expired or counterfeit goods. Mr. Mashaba’s tireless work in highlighting the dangers of such practices is noteworthy.

He has consistently warned of the potential health risks, even during his time as the Mayor of Johannesburg, where city health inspectors forewarned of a looming “health catastrophe.”

It is deeply concerning that despite these warnings, the national government has been slow to respond to this pressing issue. The tragic incident in Komani, where 120 learners fell ill after consuming food from a local vendor, is a clear demonstration of the risks associated with counterfeit or expired goods, many of which are being sold by spaza shops, often owned by foreign nationals.

The lives of South Africans are at risk, and we can ill-afford to continue placing our consumers in jeopardy.

We call on law enforcement agencies to take swift and decisive action against lawlessness in this sector. It is simply unacceptable that the state’s failure to address the threat of counterfeit goods may lead to a situation where communities take the law into their own hands to protect consumers.

Considering these recent developments, we urge the Eastern Cape Health Department and SAPS Forensics to expedite the release of the autopsy reports from the Enyobeni Tavern incident, thereby restoring faith in the justice system and ensuring that the affected families receive the closure they deserve.

ActionSA believes that our children deserve the utmost care and protection, and it is our collective responsibility to ensure their safety and well-being.

We stand with the affected families in their pursuit of truth and justice in both distressing situations and call upon the Provincial Department of Health to expedite and speedily release a toxicology report in relation to the Komani incident.