Johannesburg – A year after the Enyobeni Tavern death, another teenager has died after a pens-down drinking party in Mzamomhle F Section in East London.
Thanduxolo Mcoteli’s death was described by the Southern African Alcohol Policy Alliance in South Africa (SAAPA SA) as a further example that no concrete, impactful changes are being made to protect children from alcohol harm by the national and provincial governments in the Eastern Cape, which is unacceptable.
SAAPA SA’s Aadielah Maker Diedericks says that without any real co-ordinated and evidence-based changes, there will continue to be these kinds of incidents in communities.
“We have implored the government to respond and to intervene. The national and provincial governments failure to do so has now led to another death, and the blame is to be laid squarely at their door," said Diedericks.
Mcoteli, who was in Grade 11 at Mzamawethu High School, deserved more from government leaders, they felt.
According to SAAPA SA, his distraught mother is quoted in media reports as saying she cursed the pens-down parties held during the June holidays, which were claiming the lives of children.
She woke up at 7am on Sunday morning to the news that her son, who was not a regular consumer of alcohol, had died after attending a pens-down party at a tavern.
“He died in a shack fire, and no foul play is expected," said SAAPA SA.
“SAAPA SA calls on the Eastern Cape Government and Eastern Cape Liquor Board to take immediate action to close the Tavern Thanduxolo went to and all other outlets hosting alcohol-fuelled parties aimed at children under 18.
“The National Liquor Standards of 2015 clearly state that children can’t enter liquor outlets or be served alcohol in them. It is quite disturbing that this kind of practice is continuing unabated.”