ENYOBENI TAVERN TRAGEDY INQUEST COMMENCE

ENYOBENI TAVERN TRAGEDY INQUEST COMMENCE

The formal inquest into the deaths of 21 young people in the Enyobeni Tavern in Scenery Park in East London on 26 June 2022 commenced in the East London Regional Court today. However, the inquest has been remanded to 11 September 2023 for the state to furnish the docket contents to the court and the legal representatives of the parties. It has also been moved to Mdantsane Regional Court, due to the shortage of court space in the East London Court.

On 17 April 2023, the Eastern Cape Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Barry Madolo, decided that an inquest be held by a Regional Court Magistrate to establish if anyone can be held criminally liable, by commission or omission, for the deaths.

At this moment, it is unclear what caused the incident and hence the state declined to prosecute. The matter is referred for formal inquest, which is inquisitorial by nature, not accusatorial. Witnesses, including experts, eyewitnesses and the owners of Enyobeni Tavern, are expected to give evidence.

Meanwhile, the case against the two Enyobeni Tavern owner, Siyakhangela and Vuyokazi Ndevu, for selling or supplying intoxicating liquor to persons under the age of 18 years, and responsibility for conniving with and permitting employees and agents to sell or deliver intoxicating liquor to persons under the age of 18 years will be back in court on 24-25 October for the defence case. They have pleaded not guilty to both charges.

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