Who is to blame for Listeriosis related deaths?
AS the country grapples with the outbreak of Listeriosis, the public has more questions than answers. The back and forth media accusations by the Department of Health and Tiger Brands is not helping the situation. Government says the outbreak originated from Tiger Brands’Limpopo factory and subsequently led to the death of 180 people, but the company says there is no link between the deaths and its products. The CEO admitted that when tests were conducted, small levels of the airborne Listeriosis were detected.
This is extremely critical. Let us put aside his denialism and deal with this aspect of small levels being found. The government must now come out and explain to South Africans why even small traces are allowed.
Why should our health be put in danger by allowing for small levels to even be present? Both government and the company should take responsibility for this tragedy. The same justice that was called for when mentally ill patients died during the Life Esidimeni tragedy should be advocated for.
The country and families of those who died deserve answers and the company must provide them. The company must also foot the bill for all the funerals, be made to compensate the families and even be hit with a hefty price.
It’s not the first time the company has been in the wrong. Decisive action is now needed. A strong message must be sent to all companies not to flout health standards and regulations. Government must also pull its socks. After Motsoaledi’s announcement in December, what steps were taken to ensure that the situation does not become worse?
Going forward, how will South Africans be protected? How will the poor in the townships who are regular consumers of these foods be protected? Many of our people consume Kota and the main ingredients are those cold foods. Government must make sure those tuck shops don’t sell the products and lead to more deaths.
This are just some of the questions which people need answers to. Government must come to the party and adequately deal with this matter.