The Eastern Cape provincial government has set up an inter-ministerial committee to help the grieving families of the 21 teenagers who died inside a tavern in East London at the weekend.
The committee will be convened by the MECs of transport, finance and economic development, arts and culture, and rural development, and will help the families with the preparations ahead of the burials on the dates yet to be confirmed.
Eastern Cape premier Oscar Mabuyane said a team of psychologists and social workers has also been put in place to provide the families with psycho-social support.
The school-going teenagers died at the Enyobeni tavern in Scenery Park during the celebration of the end of term two of the school calendar. Police are investigating the cause of death.
Mabuyane expressed his gratitude for the support that the province has been receiving from across the country.
“We are pleased and appreciate the outpouring of love, prayers, and messages of support from general members of civil society to the grieving families and the Scenery Park community at large,” said Mabuyane.
“We believe this will help all the affected to deal with the pain and suffering that comes with this tragedy.”
He also welcomed the pledges from local businesses and the non-government sector to support the families with the burials.
Meanwhile, the Liquor Board in the province on Monday served the owner of the tavern, Siyakhangela Ngevu, with a notice to temporarily close the business.
The tavern has been closed under section 55 of the Eastern Cape Liquor Board Act No 10 of 2003. The act stipulates that in the event a liquor outlet is posing a danger to society, the outlet should be closed.
In an interview with one of the TV stations on Sunday, Ngevu was quoted as saying: “I sympathise with the people who have lost their loved ones. It wasn’t my intention for this to happen.
“I request that we calm down and let the police do their job and take it from there because, right now, there’s nothing we can do.”
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