Enyobeni mass funeral: We're losing our future to underage drinking - Ramaphosa

Ramaphosa was delivering his eulogy at the funeral service of the teenagers who died at Enyobeni Tavern in East London on Wednesday.

President Cyril Ramaphosa in Scenery Park on Wednesday, 6 July 2022. Picture: GovernmentZa/Twitter

EAST LONDON - President Cyril Ramaphosa said he was devastated that 21 young lives were lost in Scenery Park.

Ramaphosa was delivering his eulogy at the funeral service of the teenagers who died at Enyobeni Tavern in East London on Wednesday.

“We have lost our children here. There are parents who will not get to hug or kiss their son or daughter again. We are losing our future generation to the scourge of underage drinking. Alcohol is highly addictive. It is something to be consumed in moderation and responsibly, and only by those who are of the legal age to do so and mature enough to handle its effects.

“We are all affected when these wrong things take hold in our communities. Today, it is somebody else’s child, tomorrow it could be yours. Municipal authorities and local law enforcement officials must heed the calls and complaints from our communities, and not ignore them or not take them seriously."

Nineteen empty coffins arrived at Wednesday’s funeral service.

Also speaking at the funeral service earlier, Eastern Cape premier Oscar Mabuyane said the whole world was in mourning with South Africa following the tragic death of the teenagers.

Two families were not present at the funeral as they had already buried their loved ones - who were part f the deceased 21.

Mabuyane said the sendoff was all about bidding farewell to the young lives that were lost.

“The tragedy that occurred here, where we lost 21 young lives, who are sleeping peacefully in their coffins before us. [We need to support the families] during this difficult time as they go through the pain of laying to rest the mortal remains of their children.”

Investigations into what happened last Sunday were still ongoing.

STAMPEDE RULED OUT

According to a doctor, who addressed the mourners at the funeral, a stampede was ruled out as the cause of the deaths.

Doctor Mathiyane explained: “We need to base our findings on the evidence that has been collected from those results. It is for that reason Mr president and community members from Scenery Park that we kindly ask that people wait for the results because this investigation is very sensitive and we should treat it as such.”

WATCH LIVE: President Cyril Ramaphosa attends the mass funeral service of 21 young people in East London.