Gauteng Health MEC Bandile Masuku says the 13-year-old Kokosi primary school learner, who died last week, did not have COVID-19.

He says they conducted a test following speculation that Ben Thafeni from Fochville, west of Johannesburg, had died of COVID-19.

The learner was found to be unwell when he arrived at school on Thursday and was taken to an isolation room. When his condition did not improve he was rushed to a local clinic where he was certified dead on arrival.

The department’s spokesperson Steve Mabona said on Thursday that the cause of death has not yet been established.

“We are working very closely with the department of health, we are conducting a forensic investigation on the circumstances surrounding the death of this learner. The MEC has urged the community to avoid assuming the cause of death and leave this matter to the experts,” Mabona said.

Masuku and Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi visited the teenager’s family earlier on Sunday.

Masuku says they decided to make this announcement publicly to address the stigma around the coronavirus.

“The results say he was negative; he was not COVID-19 positive and we have consulted with the family for us to be able to disclose this information in public. We’re not taking it lightly; it’s an issue that we have to deal with in terms of stigma. The post-mortem results we’ll communicate them with the family, of which the postmodern will be done tomorrow (Monday), which is a thorough check of the body of the deceased. Then we can make a call on the underlying cause of death.”

Lesufi visited the family with Masuku after having gone into self-isolation after conducting a test on Tuesday. He received his results on Saturday, which confirmed that he was negative.