Enyobeni Tavern tragedy: Families lodged complaint with SAHRC

The parents of the victims are dissatisfied with reports that their children died of suffocation.

Families of the Enyobeni Tavern victims have lodged a complaint with the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) calling for an independent inquiry into the deaths of the 21 teenagers.

Enyobeni tragedy

The 21 underage youngsters lost their lives after a night out at the tavern in Scenery Park, East London on 26 June 2022.

The parents want answers and are willing to have their children exhumed for further tests to be conducted to determine what caused their deaths.

In September, the Eastern Cape health department met with parents where they told them that the children suffocated to death due to overcrowding.

The unofficial report conflicts with an earlier preliminary toxicology report, which stated that they might have died as a result of methanol poisoning after traces of methanol was found in their blood.

The parents are not satisfied with the report that their children died due to suffocation, because the government has not provided or made copies of the final toxicology report official.

READ MORE: Enyobeni tavern deaths: children were suffocated, according to toxicology report

SAAPA wants gov held accountable

The families turned to the Southern African Alcohol Policy Alliance (SAAPA) to file complaints to the SAHRC on their behalf. 

The alliance spokesperson, Terri-Liza Fortein, said they lodged the complaint in June, calling for the Eastern Cape government, Liquor Board and police to be held accountable for failure to ensure the safety of the deceased youngsters.

“We do believe that all three spheres of government should be looked at or examined just to explore what their level of accountability should be.

“Because the legal drinking age is 18 and we have seen the youngest victim in the Enyobeni tragedy is only about thirteen, so why was our law not being enforced,” said Fortein

They also want the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to review or possibly add more charges against the tavern owners.

Enyobeni Tavern owner, Siyakwamkela Ndevu and his wife Vuyokazi Ndevu, have since made several appearances at the East London Magistrates’ Court on charges of contravening the Liquor Act for selling liquor to minors.

The matter has been postponed to 25 November, to allow time for the newly appointed public prosecutor to familiarise herself with the case.

Fortein added that they have submitted follow-up letters to the SAHRC and are awaiting feedback on the progression of the investigations.

NOW READ: Enyobeni Tavern: Parents threaten shutdown if not given post-mortem results

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