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Enyobeni tavern owner’s liquor license revoked, charges expected following deadly party

SAPS management and crime scene experts at the scene. Picture: SAPS

SAPS management and crime scene experts at the scene. Picture: SAPS

Published Jun 27, 2022

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Durban - The Eastern Cape Liquor Board has revoked a tavern owner's liquor license and has vowed to open a criminal case after at least 21 young people were killed in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Chief executive Dr Nombuyiselo Makala said the board was deeply pained by the incident.

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“Necessary steps are being taken to deal with this liquor outlet including the immediate revocation of the liquor license and laying criminal charges against the license holder for the blatant contravention of the Eastern Cape Liquor Act that clearly stipulates that no alcohol shall be sold to persons under the age of 18," Makala said.

She said the board was shocked to learn that some of the deceased were of school-going age and younger than 18 years.

"The board condemns this repugnant incident with the strongest possible terms. As the board, we have always been forthright in our condemnation and fight against the sale of alcohol to the underage. We have also consistently taken every necessary step against any liquor outlet that is found to have sold alcohol to the underage," Makala said.

National Liquor Traders Council convenor Lucky Ntimane said the incident was avoidable.

He added that the council holds the owner liable for the events that transpired, noting that the incident happened after closing hours and there were underage children present.

Meanwhile, Enyobeni tavern owner Siyakhangela Ndevu has sent his condolences to the families of the deceased.

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It is alleged that the youngsters, some as young as 13, had gathered for a ‘pens down’ party signalling the end of the second school term. Teargas was allegedly sprayed into the crowd and youngsters scrambled to get out, leading to a stampede.

Police said 17 bodies were found inside the building. It was later established that two more people died at a local clinic, one died en route to hospital and another died in hospital. Nine of the deceased were female, while 12 were male.

Experts have been called in to complement the provincial team investigating the circumstances around the event. Police have since registered an inquest into the death of the young people.

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Anyone who may have information pertaining what could have transpired is urged to contact police and share information on the Crime Stop number on 08600 10111.

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