Council to bury 'poison' victims
The eThekwini municipality will pay for the funerals of five family members who died after eating poisonous mushrooms.
"The municipality has agreed to give all five people a dignified funeral," ward councillor Sibongiseni Mkhize said yesterday.
Bheki Mkhize, 29, had arrived home in Dassenhoek, west of Durban, with the mushrooms on Tuesday last week and gave them to his girlfriend to cook.
After eating the meal, his family became ill. They hallucinated, vomited, had upset stomachs and lost energy.
Mkhize's girlfriend, identified only as Xoli, was the first to become ill after eating the mushrooms.
She died on Wednesday at RK Khan Hospital.
Mkhize's sister, Nombulelo, 22, was rushed to Mariannhill Hospital. She was discharged after receiving medical attention.
On Thursday, Mkhize's 17-month-old child, Emenhle, died at the KwaDabeka Community Clinic.
Mkhize's sister, Nozipho, 24, died on Friday at Mariannhill Hospital, leaving behind an eight-month-old baby.
The other sister, Nombulelo, was readmitted to hospital and died on Saturday.
Mkhize himself succumbed on Sunday at RK Khan Hospital.
His aunt, Thembekile Cele, said yesterday that the family was relieved that the government would help.
They were still trying to locate Xoli's family.
"The social workers visited and took all the details they needed. Our big concern now is to find Xoli's family. Her identity book has been found and we hope the police will find her relatives."
Mkhize said the family was waiting for the results of autopsies on Bheki, Nombulelo, Nozipho and Xoli. The body of the child, Emenhle, was at a private mortuary.
KwaZulu-Natal health department spokesman Chris Maxon said the Mariannhill Hospital and KwaDabeka Clinic were waiting for post-mortem results.
Mkhize said it was believed that the mushrooms had been picked in the neighbouring Mpola area.
Marc Touzel, of Chantarelle Mushroom Farm, in Durban, warned against consuming wild mushrooms.
"There are various species of mushrooms that are poisonous, found in the wild, that suddenly spring up, almost overnight, after rain and thunderstorms."
He said poisonous mushrooms could kill a person immediately if the flesh touched an open wound.
The ikhowa mushroom is a wild mushroom that is safe for consumption, Touzel said.