South African mourners have voiced outrage and grief over the death of 21 youths in a bar over the weekend, with authorities saying they were most likely poisoned by something they ate, drank, or smoked.
According to provincial health officials and the presidency, at least 22 South Africans were discovered dead inside a popular tavern in the coastal town of East London on Sunday, June 26 2022.
According to police minister Bheki Cele, the 13-year-old victim was among at least 21 individuals who died at a drinking establishment over the weekend.
South African Tavern Deaths Cause
Poisoning is suspected as the cause of death for 21 youths who died at a South African tavern.
The youngest casualty, according to Eastern Cape police spokeswoman Brigadier Tembinkosi Kinana, was a 13-year-old girl.
Bheki Cele, the Police Minister, had to halt his speech to cry, eliciting tears from his audience outside a morgue.
“It’s either something they swallowed, whether it’s food or drinks, or something they inhaled,” said Unathi Bingose, a spokesperson for the Eastern Cape’s provincial community safety department.
The reason of the fatalities was not immediately known, and police were investigating.
The bodies were discovered scattered across the floors and tables of East London’s Enyobeni Tavern. The bodies were taken to morgues for post-mortem investigations.
Mr Cele, who had visited the area and had been informed by local police, indicated that those who died ranged in age from 13 to 17 – although a comprehensive list of the victims has yet to be released. The legal drinking age in South Africa is 18.
According to reports, many who went to the tavern were enjoying the end of the school year.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa offered his “deepest sympathies” to the victims’ families.