The Gauteng education department on Thursday said three school pupils who are siblings died in Ratanda, Heidelberg, after allegedly consuming energy drinks they had been given by their father.

According to preliminary reports, the four pupils consumed energy drinks after arriving at school on Thursday. The boys, aged 6, 13, and 16, were all respectively pupils at Ratanda Primary and Khanya Lesedi Secondary Schools in Ratanda.

The department said the cause of death was not confirmed, but MEC Panyaza Lesufi took to his Twitter account to say the father may have been behind the deaths. 

“Sadly, two of the said pupils died shortly at the school after complaining of stomach pains while one was rushed to the nearest hospital, but died on the way. The fourth sibling is in a critical condition at the hospital while the fifth, fortunately, did not consume the energy drink,” said Lesufi in a statement.

Brigadier Brenda Muridili said when police visited the home of the boys, they found the boys’ father unconscious in the house.

“He was taken to hospital under police guard as it is alleged that he might be involved in the alleged poisoning of his children,” said Muridili.

The SAPS Forensic Specialists were also called to the scene. The police will await the postmortem results which will determine the exact cause of death.

Meanwhile, people were curious to know which brand of energy drink it was while others questioned if these drinks are meant for 6-year-old kids?