A 42-year-old Eastern Cape man was arrested on Friday for murder and attempted murder after he allegedly poisoned four boys between the ages of three and eight in Magcakeni locality, Libode, according to police spokesperson Brigadier Tembinkosi Kinana.
Kinana said the three children were in the care of a neighbour while their mother was in Cape Town.
The father had arrived at the neighbour’s house with chocolates for the boys that were reportedly laced with a poison called Tank-Pill, he added.
“Subsequently, all the children had to be rushed to a nearby hospital as they fell sick from the alleged poisoned sweets.
“Reports indicate that one of the boys died on the way to the hospital, while the other one succumbed while receiving medical treatment,” Kinana said.
Parents ‘not on good terms’
A five-year-old boy – reported to be the neighbour’s child – was discharged but a three-year-old boy remains hospitalised in a serious condition.
“Preliminary investigation suggests the parents of the three boys were not on good terms. However, an investigation is under way to establish what could have prompted the suspect to allegedly poison the children,” he added.
Acting police commissioner Major-General Andre Swart expressed his shock at the incident, and commended the police for arresting the suspect within 24 hours.
“The suspect must be made to see his day in court, so that he can account for his horrendous actions,” Swart said.
The suspect was expected to appear in court on Monday, Kinana added.