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By Citizen Reporter


Enyobeni tavern tragedy: Parliament urges police to speed up investigations

Methanol was detected in the bodies of the 21 teens who died at Enyobeni tavern last month.

Parliament has called on the South African Police Service (SAPS) to speed up its investigation into the Enyobeni tavern deaths.

On Tuesday, Eastern Cape police and provincial Department of Health released the preliminary test results, with methanol, a toxic alcohol used industrially as a solvent, pesticide and alternative fuel source, being detected in the blood samples of the 21 teenagers who died at the tavern located in Scenery Park, East London on 26 June.

ALSO READ: Enyobeni tavern: Possible that deceased’s drinks were spiked with methanol

The blood samples were tested for alcohol and carbon monoxide poisoning, but the levels were not high enough to cause death, according to Eastern Cape’s deputy-director general for clinical services, Litha Matiwane.

While the provincial government ruled out a stampede as the cause of the deaths of the victims, their blood samples will receive further analysis by toxicologists in Cape Town as the preliminary results were not yet not conclusive.


Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities noted the update and called on the police to accelerate the investigation into the deaths.

In a statement, the committee’s chairperson Nonhlanhla Ncube-Ndaba said the victims’ parents were in need of some level of closure.

“Acceleration of the investigations and the disclosure of the real cause of the deaths of the 21 children in Enyobeni tavern will certainly translate into healing for the parents and relatives of the 21 children,” Ncube-Ndaba said on Wednesday.

READ MORE: ‘It wasn’t my intention for this to happen’: Enyobeni tavern owner

Last week, the owner of the Enyobeni tavern was arrested along with two employees.

The arrest of the 52-year-old suspect and two employees followed a criminal complaint laid by the Eastern Cape Liquor Board (ECLB) at Scenery Park Police Station for contravention of the Liquor Act.

The ECLB laid the criminal complaint against the tavern owner for allegedly selling alcohol to minors.

The two tavern employees were each fined R2,000, while a summons was served to the owner for his immediate arrest and appearance in court on 19 August 2022.

Nomzamo tavern shooting

A memorial service for 13 of 16 victims who lost their lives following a shooting at a tavern in Orlando East, Soweto, earlier this month.

The shooting took place when assailants opened fire inside at the Mdlalose tavern, with more than 130 empty cartridges being found at the crime scene by the police.

Speaking at the memorial on Wednesday, KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) premier Sihle Zikalala reportedly said government needed to take blame.

“As the government, we are to be blamed as well, the fact that you have 13 individuals from the same municipality in one area proves just that.

READ MORE: Alexandra murders: Police arrest eighth suspect

“These individuals ended up in Soweto in search of a better life, because there were probably struggling to get jobs in uMzimkhulu. We need to do better in terms of opening up job opportunities so that we do not have a number of people migrating to other cities,” he said.

Zikalala further conceded that more regulations were needed to ensure people’s safety in places of entertainment.

The Gauteng Liquor Board last week also called for a law that requires tavern owners to have security personnel at their establishments.

Meanwhile, four men linked to the deadly shooting at the Samkelisiwe Tavern in Sweetwaters appeared in the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday.

The four suspects are facing four charges of murder, eight of attempted murder as well as the illegal possession of firearms.

They were all remanded in custody until July 28 for a formal bail application.

Two suspects were initially arrested in connection with the shooting incident which left four people dead, but were later released due to lack of evidence.

NOW READ: Father of Pietermaritzburg tavern shooting survivor describes the horror

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Enyobeni Tavern Parliament Sihle Zikalala Soweto

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