EL tavern deaths puts focus on teen drinking; calls for urgent interventions

The youngsters died in the early hours of Sunday morning, and the cause of their deaths is still not known.

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

CAPE TOWN - The death of 21 teenagers at the Enyobeni Tavern in East London has exposed the dangers of teenage drinking and the role that parents and other community members should play to protect minors.

The youngsters died in the early hours of Sunday morning, and the cause of their deaths is still not known.

Since the incident, community members have come out highlighting the need for urgent interventions to protect young people from being exposed to alcohol and other various social ills.

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Sports and recreational facilities are few and far between in many poverty-stricken communities where taverns are plenty on many street corners.

Consultant at the South African Association for Women Graduates, Samukelisiwe Coka, said that now was not the time to play the blame game: “There is no investment on child or teenage centre facilities when you go to Manenberg, Delft, Khayelitsha, Mfuleni or even Mlazi. So, the only option that young people are using, are the adult facilities that sell alcohol.”

The South African Human Rights Commission has also weighed in on the recent events in East London and they've also called for the owner of the tavern to be held accountable.