Residents living near the East London tavern where at least 22 people died are demanding that it be closed and its liquor license revoked.
While details are scarce, the victims were discovered dead inside the establishment in the early hours of Sunday, June 26, 2022. Several others were rushed to the hospital. It is unclear what caused their deaths at this time.
Weziwe Tikana Gxothiwe, the MEC for Community Safety in the Eastern Cape, has asked that families assist in identifying the victims of the tragedy. “We know that there are parents that have not seen their children. We request that all the parents who have missing children report to Woodbrook mortuary,” Gxothiwe is quoted as having told News24.
The Daily Dispatch reported that family members who suspected that their children were among the victims were gathered outside the tavern but were barred from entering the premises,
The publication said initial speculation was that the patrons were either exposed to some form of poison as none of the bodies they could see had any visible injuries.
Bodies were seen lying bizarrely as if they collapsed to the floor suddenly while dancing or in the middle of a conversation. Other bodies were seen slumped across chairs and lying over tables.
According to residents of the East London township where the tavern is located, the establishment even sells alcohol to minors and is unconcerned about customer safety, according to SABC News.
Xolile Malangeni, whose two children are said to have been killed, has asked the provincial Liquor Board to revoke the tavern’s liquor license. “I’m not feeling well good at all when you got two kids on that scene it’s not right l hope our government can take action I don’t want to say the Liquour Board failed even the police failed if the police were patrolling even liquor board the licence says two o’clock, this happened after three and the owner knows the rule,” Malangeni is quoted as having said.