Enyobeni Tavern inquest delayed due to couple’s absence

Published Apr 8, 2024


The owners of the Enyobeni Tavern were absent in court when the inquest into the death of 21 children who died at the tavern in 2022 resumed on Monday.

It is reported that the pair, Siyakhangela Ndevu and his wife Vuyokazi, were not informed that they were needed for the inquest. It was postponed to May 11.

The couple are key witnesses in the inquest scheduled to take place in the Mdantsane Magistrate’s Court in the Eastern Cape.

Twenty-one young people aged between 14 and 20 died at a pens down party in June, 2022.

In February, the East London Regional Court found the pair guilty, and they were slapped with a fine of R5 000 each or 100 days’ imprisonment.

They were slammed by the court for failing to adhere to age restriction protocols at their establishment.

The inquest is intended to establish if anyone should be held accountable for the deaths of 21 young people on June 26, 2022.

Speaking to SABC News, Precious Daniel who represents the couple, said she has not consulted with her clients since the February trial, adding that the court had not subpoenaed them in time for them to be in court today.

“I have not consulted with my clients since the last case, which was in February. The State has not subpoenaed them to be in court today, which is the reason for the postponement, so that we can get their availability for the next date and to ensure where I stand legally with regard to representing them. Those are the main reasons we postponed (the case) today.”

A parent, Ntombizonke Mgangala who lost a child in the tragedy, said she is not happy with the sentence meted out to the owners.

“I am not happy at all about this sentence. We were not expecting such a sentence. We were expecting more than that. We understand that the sentencing was not around the death of our children. We were expecting them to send a message to all the tavern owners out there,” she said.

Another parent, Khululekile Ncadana, said she hopes the inquest would help her and other parents find closure about what happened to their children.

“You know the release of the results by the Department of Health… All the parents were not happy with it, that is why there is this inquest to go into the details and find out what happened. My hope is to find the truth,” she said.