Scenery Park residents still want to know what caused the deaths of their teens

As the parents of the teenagers who died at the Enyobeni Tavern prepare for the burials of their children, they're still seeking answers as to the causes of their deaths.

The Enyobeni tavern in Scenery Park, East London where 21 people died during an event on 25 June 2022. Picture: Nhlanhla Mabasa/Eyewitness News

SCENERY PARK - The parents of 21 teenagers who died at an Eastern Cape tavern about a week ago still don't know how their teens died.

What was a celebration party for two local deejays turned into a nightmare, as 21 teenagers died. The tavern, situated in Scenery Park, has been a crime scene over the past days, with the question of why the teens were inside, partying and consuming alcohol?

Although visuals circulating on social media show that the venue was packed, many still believe this was not the cause of death as some of those who were inside the tavern claim that some sort of gas was used to disperse the crowd.

Many scenes have unfolded in the area, with parents identifying their children's bodies, a protest to shut the Enyobeni Tavern down and a candlelight ceremony for the victims.

At the same time, members of the community started pointing fingers at the officials as some residents cited that had the police been vigilant in the area, such a tragedy could have been avoided and that if the local government cared for the youth, this would not have happened.

Meanwhile, the entertainment manager at the tavern, Promise Matunise, laid the blame on the youngsters.
He told Eyewitness News that teens were not allowed in the tavern, but they forced their way in.

“Although they let some of those who appeared to be slightly older in, the youngsters, especially those who are said to be 13, are the ones who forced their way in and pushed the bouncers, I think that is how they got in.”

The incident has taken its toll on the parents, who now have to bury their children. One of the parents who lost his daughter at the tavern said that he had high hopes for his young girl.

"My daughter is laying in the mortuary, she died inside the tavern - she was only 17-years-old and doing her matric. I thought she would bury me first, and I had dopes to see her progress because I work for her," he said.

Even though the owner has apologised, it did not prevent the Eastern Cape Liquor Board from taking action against them, by shutting down the tavern pending a probe into the incident.

The Buffalo City Municipality's deputy mayor, Princess Faku, said that all the children would be given proper sendoffs.

"We have approached Avbob as the municipality; they will assist us to bury all the 21 children. All of them will receive a free service from Avbob on Wednesday next week we will have a mass funeral," Faku said.

And while the families prepare to bury their children, they still demand closure regarding the cause of death.

They want police to continue investigating the matter.