150 People Poisoned in Lawandele

iol news pic poison food jan 10

More than 100 residents of the Pholile Park formal settlement near Strand had to be admitted
to hospital with food poisoning at the weekend after they had consumed expired food dumped there.
The City of Cape Town’s health department wants the police to investigate.
Pholile Park community leader Siphe Kaka said: “On Thursday morning, a white truck came into the area 
and just dumped the food. There were jams, biscuits, sweets etc. 
People rushed to get to the food and it was later that day when many got ill - especially children. 
On Friday and Saturday, more became ill and today another 40 people got sick.”
He said ambulances came and went all weekend as residents fell ill, vomited and had skin rashes due to food poisoning. The food they had consumed had expired as far back as 2007, Kaka said.
Resident Simphiwe Mafilika said: “On Friday, I drank apple juice I picked up and yesterday (on Saturday) at 4pm I became very sick. I had severe cramps and a runny tummy, but no vomiting. It was terrible, but I was fortunate not have been taken to hospital.”
City of Cape Town Disaster Risk Management Centre spokesman Wilfred Solomons-Johannes said 151 residents were affected. Some were treated on the scene while others were taken to hospital.
“This morning, 43 were taken to hospital and this afternoon another 60. We investigated the food and found a leaflet that showed the items came from a place Simply Value Factory Food Shop.”
He said the city’s health department would lodge criminal complaints because the items were supposed to be disposed of at a proper dump site.
“This was not done. Our health department inspectors have taken samples of the foods for testing and we have dumped the remainder of the items. The department will tomorrow make a case with the police,” he said.
Simply Value Factory Food Shop manager Santa Kotze had told authorities that H Hearn Refuse Removal had been contracted to properly dispose of the expired foods.
H Hearn Refuse Removal manager Henry Hearn said last night he did not have a contract with Kotze. His company’s vehicle was used and a Pholile Park casual labourer persuaded the driver to take the food items to his home in the informal settlement as he wanted to open a spaza shop.
“When people got sick police called me to come and remove the stuff. I removed 14 refuse bags and I warned the casual.
“I only provided the transport. My staff are on holiday. The casuals were picked up along the road,” he said.
About expired food items, Hearn said: “The driver and the casual called me to say they are taking it to his place. They would have taken it to Stellenbosch (landfill site), but people passing by with trolleys said they normally get (expired) stuff there (at Simply Value Factory Food Shop). I personally ate a packet of monkeys (peanuts).”
Messages for Kotze were not returned. Lwandle police spokesman Mthokozisi Gama said concerned residents had alerted police and taken items to the police station.
“No case has been opened as one has lodged any complaints,” he said.
Said Kaka: “Somebody must be held responsible for this. They can’t just come and dispose of old food in a community that is poor and desperate. People here suffer a lot from poverty and the last thing we need is for them to be given food that makes them sick.” - Cape Times

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