President Cyril Ramaphosa is today (Wed 6 July) attending the mass funeral service for the 21 young people who died last week in a tavern in the Eastern Cape, South Africa.
The teenagers – some as young as 13 – passed away at the Enyobeni Tavern in Scenery Park, East London in the early hours of Sunday, 26 June 2022. Their exact cause of death has not yet been announced, although SA Police said yesterday that their investigations were close to a conclusion.
According to the Presidency, the President will be joined by Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane and provincial and local government leaders in comforting the families of the deceased youth.
The service is taking place at Scenery Park Sports Field, East London from 09:00. The President will address the mourners.
The symbolic funeral of empty coffins of the victims will be taken to the venue, and burials will then be conducted privately by their families.
WATCH Enyobeni Tavern Tragedy Mass Funeral Service, South Africa
In his weekly letter to the nation on Monday, President Ramaphosa called on civil society, government and communities to come together to fight the scourge of underage drinking in South Africa.
The President said the growing trend of underage drinking is not only illegal but also psychologically and physically detrimental.
“The increased social acceptability of young people drinking alcohol has become a serious problem in a country where the majority of the drinking population are already classified by the World Health Organisation as binge drinkers.
“Alcohol use amongst adolescents is associated with impaired function, absenteeism from learning, alcohol-related injuries, suicidal thoughts and attempts, and risky behaviour,” he said. – SAnews.gov.za