Parents blamed as five school kids injured at pens down parties

Hundreds of school children descended on the beachfront for pens down partying and boozing, but authorities are not impressed. Picture: Buffalo City Metro

Hundreds of school children descended on the beachfront for pens down partying and boozing, but authorities are not impressed. Picture: Buffalo City Metro

Published Jun 26, 2023


Cape Town - The Buffalo City Metro has expressed its disappointment with East London parents, saying they have failed to protect their underage children from the excessive drinking which comes with pens down parties at the end of the school term.

Last year, scores of pupils died at the Enyobeni Tavern in Scenery Park, where underage learners attended a similar party.

The municipality said five pupils were hospitalised due to incidents related to excessive drinking as hundreds of learners held so-called pens down parties over the weekend.

The so-called pens down parties were being hosted at the beachfront in East London.

Five children were taken to hospital due to incidents related to over drinking of alcohol like vodka, brandy and ciders, and law-breaking patrons were warned to vacate.

Over 15 children were escorted home as part of prevention of missing persons, and one parent was assisted to locate and rescue her child at the beachfront.

An intoxicated teen is taken to hospital by ambulance after authorities clamped down on underage boozing parties. Picture: Buffalo City Metro

“BCM is extremely disappointed with the attitude of some parents as they fail to control their children who drink excessively in the name of a school pens down party in some areas of the district,” BCM spokesperson, Samkelo Ngwenya said.

“The Metro has issued several warnings to parents to be vigilant, monitor their children and not allow them to attend drinking parties in the name of schooling activities,” he said.

Ngwenya said that the Metro’s law enforcement, traffic services, fire, disaster management and the SAPS had their hands full on Saturday night as hundreds of teenagers, approximately 700 descended on the beachfront.

“Roadblocks were set up along the beachfront area in Fleet Street, Esplanade and Bowls Road where BCM and provincial traffic officers arrested 15 drunk drivers,” he said.

Ngwenya said following last year’s Enyobeni tragedy, it is important for parents to take responsibility for their children’s actions and whereabouts and make it their business to monitor their children’s movements.

“Government interventions alone cannot be the only solution to this problem,” he said.

Ngwenya further said that the safety and security cluster condemns any actions by school children to use alcohol as a celebratory norm for themes like school closures, school exams and school re-openings.

“We commend establishments who took responsibility to comply with their licence conditions and made sure that no underage children were allowed to access their premises and buy alcohol,” Ngwenya said.

Eastern Cape Liquor Board spokesperson, Mgwebi Msiya said they are shocked and disappointed by what happened, and it is an illustration of the gravity of the underage drinking problem in the province and, the need to take extraordinary measures to alleviate this problem.

“From the Enyobeni tavern incident we were under the impression that our young people would have learnt a lesson to start to restrain themselves,” Msiya said.