-End of exams tragedy –
By CAMI EZENWA
They had trooped to a night club in the southern township to celebrate the successful end of exams,
unaware that tragedy lurked around.
As at the last count, about twenty of them lay dead, amidst allegations that they had been poisoned.
The tragedy happened at Enyobeni Tavern, Scenery Park, Eastern Park, South Africa
The Eastern Cape provincial community and safety department official Unathi Binqose ruled out a stampede as cause of death. He said he understood the patrons were students ‘celebrating pens down, a party held after writing (high school) exams’, reports the Mail online.
However, regional newspaper DispatchLive reported claims those who died were exposed to some kind of poison.
-End of exams tragedy 2–
Empty bottles of alcohol, wigs and even a pastel purple ‘Happy Birthday’ sash lay strewn on the dusty street outside the double-storey Enyobeni Tavern, according to Unathi Binqose, a safety government official who arrived at the scene at dawn.
Local media also reported: ‘Bodies are lying strewn across tables, chairs and on the floor; with no obvious signs of injury’.
Unverified pictures shared on social media showed bodies with no visible signs of injuries, strewn on the floor of the club.
Drinking is permitted in South African township pubs, commonly known as taverns or shebeens which are sometimes located in family homes, where safety regulations are rarely enforced.
‘The number has increased to 20, three have died in hospital. But there are still two who are very critical,’ the head of the provincial government safety department Weziwe Tikana-Gxothiwe said on local TV.
-End exams tragedy – 3
A visibly shocked head of the Eastern Cape Province Oscar Mabuyane spoke from outside the scene, a building surrounded by houses in an area called Scenery Park.
‘It’s absolutely unbelievable, we can’t understand it, losing 20 young lives just like that,’ he told reporters, condemning ‘this unfortunate consumption, unlimited consumption of liquor’.
‘You can’t just trade in the middle of society like this and think that young people are not going to experiment,’ he said.
Local television showed police officers trying to calm down a crowd of people gathered outside the club in the city, which lies on the Indian Ocean coast, nearly 620 miles south of Johannesburg.
Mr Kinana told the Newzroom Africa rolling news channel: ‘The SAPS confirms that about 17… were found dead inside a local cabin in Scenery Park, in the area of East London.
‘We received this report in the early hours of Sunday. The circumstances surrounding the incident are under investigation as we speak.
‘We do not want to make any speculations at this stage. Our investigation is continuing.’