Parents told to wait longer to find out what killed Enyobeni teens

The frustrated parents of 21 teens who died at Enyobeni Tavern in Scenery Park, East London, on June 26, will have to wait even longer to find out what killed their children.

Parents and family members wait outside the Cambridge Police Hall in East London ahead of their meeting with the police minister and premier over the deaths of 21 teenagers at Enyonbeni Tavern.

Parents and family members in the hall cried out in frustration upon learning that they would not yet be told what killed their children. They were told that the individual families would receive pathology reports once investigations were finally concluded.

Police Minister Bheki Cele and Eastern Cape premier Oscar Mabuyane announced that laboratory results had revealed the presence of carbon monoxide and toxic alcohol methanol, but this had not yet been pinned down as the cause of death so more tests will still be needed.

Eastern Cape health department deputy director general for clinical services Dr Litha Matiwane said they were waiting for blood results to see if the level of methanol ingested was toxic.

Health MEC Nomakhosazana Meth, community safety MEC Weziwe Tikana-Gxothiwe, Buffalo city executive mayor Xola Pakati and deputy mayor Princess Faku were also in attendance.

There has been speculation on the cause of death, ranging from a stampede to teargas poisoning carbon monoxide asphyxiation caused by generator fumes but, while ruling out several possibilities, police and health officials have remained tight-lipped after sending samples to a Cape Town laboratory for additional testing.

The province’s liquor industry and enforcement by the liquor board came into sharp focus after it emerged that all 21 of those who died were under the legal drinking age, with the eldest at 17 and the youngest at 13.