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LISTEN | Eastern Cape Liquor Board cites staffing issues after Enyobeni tavern tragedy

05 July 2022 - 17:47 By DEMI BUZO and Catherine White
The Enyobeni tavern, where 21 East London children lost their lives. File photo.
The Enyobeni tavern, where 21 East London children lost their lives. File photo.
Image: MICHAEL PINYANA

The Eastern Cape Liquor Board has cited staffing issues after the tragic and mysterious deaths of 21 youths at Enyobeni tavern in the Eastern Cape on June 26.

The venue, which was granted its license in 2012, had not been complying with several liquor law regulations, including those relating to altering the establishment’s initial structure. 

According to board spokesperson Mgwebi Msiya, a lack of staff has affected how the board monitors compliance by liquor outlets such as Enyobeni tavern.

“We have very few liquor inspectors. We have 16 inspectors who have to look after 7,500 liquor outlets in the province,” said Msiya.

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Despite many calls for the closure of the tavern and other liquor outlets in Scenery Park, East London, Msiya said the law must take its course and the board would do everything in its power to strengthen its enforcement capacity, including working with stakeholders such as the police and other law enforcement agencies. 

The mass funeral service for the tavern victims will be held at the Scenery Park sports field on Wednesday. 

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