City health authorities and the police are investigating after six people collapsed in Lansdowne.
One woman and five men became dizzy after they were allegedly given a jug of mixed alcohol to drink at what was previously a sports bar in Lansdowne.
The bar closed after its liquor license expired months ago, say police.
According to Lansdowne police spokesman Sergeant Nkululeko Mnyaka, a group now leasing the premises have been giving food to the poor but when the food ran out on Monday January 13, they gave them alcohol instead.
The five men and one woman who drank the alcohol later vomited and collapsed in Lansdowne – two in Crete Road, two in Wetton Road, one behind the garage in Walnut Road, and one close to Wetton Circle.
Sergeant Mnyaka said the six had told police they had drunk the alcohol on empty stomachs.
They were admitted to Groote Schuur, Somerset, Victoria and Tygerberg hospitals, all in a critical condition.
Only the woman was still in hospital on Monday January 20 but her condition was listed as stable, say police.
Blood tests had confirmed alcohol poisoning, said Sergeant Mnyaka.
One of the men, Luyanda Nkapeni, from Samora Machel, said he had been looking for a job in Lansdowne.
He had stood in line for food, but when it had run out, a man had produced a jug of alcohol and then another.
“All of a sudden, I felt dizzy, and I couldn’t walk properly, and then I collapsed. When I woke up, I was in Somerset Hospital. The man kept bringing jugs of alcohol, and we drank it and everyone got sick,” he said.
Mpendulo Mgangathi, 50, from Philippi, said he had only had one glass but had felt sick minutes later.
“I was discharged from Groote Schuur Hospital on Tuesday morning, and then the police fetched us to go to the police station in Lansdowne, and we explained what happened.
“We were all sick; we didn’t know what was happening to us,” he said.
Mayco member for community services and health, Zahid Badroodien, said the City’s environmental health department would investigate further.
“Investigations of this nature take some time to complete, and so we ask the public and the media to bear with us,” he said.
The Athlone News was unable to contact the group operating out of the old sports bar by the time this edition went to print.