The parents of the victims of the Enyobeni Tavern tragedy are unhappy that the owners of the tavern where 21 young people died pleaded not guilty to the charges laid against them.
The frustrated parents say the couple, Siyakhangela Ndevu and his wife Vuyokazi, do not want to take responsibility for the tragedy.
They face charges of allowing underage patrons into their establishment and also selling alcohol to minors. The trial against them will commence on the 25th April 2023.
The day started with the parents of the victims marching to court with a number of organisations and political parties by their side.
They handed over a memorandum of demands to the Buffalo City Metro, the NPA and the provincial Liquor Board. They want another inquest into the deaths of their children. Asphyxiation was ruled as the cause of death, a conclusion they reject.
“This incident happened in the general national failure to protect people from alcohol related issues. The proposed legislation doesn’t work. There appears to be corruption to be left alone. There are thousands of liquor outlets that are illegal. They break the law in terms of their licences,” says the aunt of one of the Enyobeni deceased, Ntombizonke Mgangala.
“We want to know what killed our children it is still a case and it is gaining momentum, we now have a legal team a legal team is following that,” says a father of one of the deceased, Khululekile Ncandana.
The Eastern Cape Liquor Board says it is a step closer to revoking the trading licence.
“The liquor licence for the Enyobeni Tavern remains suspended. That establishment is not trading at the moment and is not going to trade until we advise them what to do next. So it remains closed, there are no operations at that liquor outlet,” says spokesperson for the Eastern Cape Liquor Board, Mgwebi Msiya.
The call for another inquest is also being looked at from a legal point of view.
“You cannot have an inquest in the same breath as criminal prosecution. You can only have an inquest if there’s no prosecution especially about the deaths. So at this stage, the investigation is still on going. The NPA has taken a view yet as a result of the deaths. We are here to lend support to the families,” says lawyer for the families Buchule Fulanisi.
The NPA believes it has a strong case against the couple on the alcohol sales related charges they face.