Enyobeni owners’ application for discharge dismissed

A desperate application made by the Enyobeni Tavern owners for the magistrate’s court in East London, Eastern Cape to dismiss charges against them was denied on Tuesday.

The state led evidence of underage youth who told the court how they bought the booze from the establishment.

Magistrate Kevin von Bradt said while there was some merit in the defence’s discharge application, it was insufficient to dismiss the matter.

The tavern made headlines in June 2022 after 21 teenagers died under mysterious circumstances while drinking during an pens-down party, a celebration of the end exams.

Tavern owners Siyakhangela Ndevu and his wife Vuyokazi are charged with selling or supplying liquor to persons under the age of 18, and conniving with and permitting staff and agents to sell or deliver liquor to under-18 persons.

Couple did not sell booze to minors – lawyer

Defence lawyer Precious Daniel argued that the couple did not sell alcohol to minors.

The state has since called nine witnesses before it wrapped up its case, and presented a video footage from the fateful day as part of its evidence.

In the footage, Siyakhangela is seen selling alcohol and interacting with customers in the tavern in Scenery Park, a township in East London in the Eastern Cape.

The couple pleaded not guilty to both charges before the court in August.

In the first week of September, a formal inquest into the deaths of the teenagers was postponed to September 11.

The inquest was remanded by the regional court in East London for the state to furnish contents of the docket to legal representatives of parties involved.

The parents of the 21 youths have previously described the passing of their children as a painful experience, saying they find it hard to accept the cause of death.

They say there are many inconsistencies, especially with the last three reports.

Since the last forensic report in September, the families say they have not heard from the authorities again.

That matter is still being heard at the East London magistrate’s court.

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