A father and his two children, learners at Utopia Farm School, near Betlhehem, died after consuming brown beans on Wednesday.
The mother and aunt were arrested shortly after.
The MEC of Education in the Free State Province, Dr Tate Makgoe sent his condolences to the families.
The learners, 14-year-old Mamsi Portia Pamplen 10-year-old Meiki Mokoena allegedly consumed the brown beans before going to school. Their other sibling, 11-year-old Lerato, was admitted at Phekolong Hospital.
“On arrival at the school they complained of abdominal cramps. They were swiftly taken to the nearby clinic where they were certified dead,” read the statement from the education department.
Their father died at his workplace after eating the same beans.
“The mother and the aunt of the deceased learners have been arrested. South African Police Service are investigating circumstances surrounding this dreadful incident,” said Makgoe.
Makgoe called on the business sector, NGOs, Faith Based Organisations, Dihlabeng local Municipality, Thabo Mofutsanyane District Municipality and other organ of state to lend a helping in ensuring that the learners and their father receive a decent funeral.
“We are deeply saddened by these untimely deaths and wish to convey our condolences to the family who lost their children in this tragic way,” he said.
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