The three boys aged 6, 13, and 16 were learners at Ratanda Primary and Khanya Lesedi Secondary Schools in Ratanda.
The Gauteng Department of Education (GDE) said preliminary reports allege that the boys’ father had given five of his children energy drinks before they went to school.
Two of the learners died at school after allegedly complaining of stomach pains. Another learner passed away on route to the hospital.
The department said, “The fourth sibling is in a critical condition at the hospital while the fifth, fortunately, did not consume the energy drink”.
The GDE has dispatched its psycho-social support unit to the affected schools to provide counselling. Counselling has also been offered to the family of the siblings.
GDE Spokesperson Steve Mabona revealed that the mother of the siblings was a food handler at the Khanya Lesedi Secondary school, where one of the siblings passed away.
Mabona said, “She would have experienced this first hand which is quite sad and they really need the support that they deserve. The MEC has already committed that as a department we will be here throughout this period and will make sure that they are all supported."
He added the department's employee wellness program has been activated at the school to support the teachers while the psycho-social support unit will assist learners.
Gauteng MEC for Education Panyaza Lesufi conveyed his condolences to the family of the deceased learners.
He said, “I further extend my condolences to friends, fellow learners and teachers of the learners, especially those who had witnessed these tragic incidents.”