Justice for Teens Endangered and Killed at Reportedly Reckless Nightclubs

Target: Ms. Nomhle Tys, Chairperson of Eastern Cape Liquor Board

Goal: Shut down and penalize businesses that knowingly permit entry and serve alcohol to minors.

Nearly two dozen teenagers mysteriously lost their lives at a South African nightclub. Survivors reported victims literally dropping dead dancing, while others lay across tables, chairs, and sofas. Individuals who escaped the catastrophe also claimed feeling dizzy, disoriented, breathless, and smelling strange odors. Police are still investigating the cause of this tragedy, but answers may take some time in coming.

This mass casualty event also shines a harsh spotlight on the South African nightclub industry, long accused of violating laws and exploiting poor, often underaged patrons. All of the fatalities at Enyobeni Tavern, the site of the incident, were reportedly young people between the ages of 13 and 17 who were celebrating the end of school exams. Under South African law, they should have never even been at the tavern. This tavern’s liquor license will be revoked and criminal charges explored against owners, but how long might it have continued its allegedly illegal operations unhindered if not for these tragic deaths?

How many of its fellow nightclubs are still knowingly violating the law and endangering young lives? Sign the petition below to demand broader accountability that can help prevent the next avoidable tragedy.


Dear Chairperson Tys,

Twenty-one young people died in the dead of night at a tavern from which they should have been banned. The still-unknown cause of their sudden deaths is horrific enough. Yet the seeming fact that unenforced laws and completely lacking oversight helped make this tragedy possible may be even worse.

South Africa’s backstreets are notoriously filled with establishments like the Enyobeni Tavern that allegedly ignore liquor laws and cater to some of the most vulnerable members of society. Even President Ramaphosa questioned why “such young people were gathered at a venue which, on the face of it, should be off limits to persons under the age of 18.” The scary reality is that if not for this tragedy, the tavern would have likely never faced any accountability for its reported wrongdoing.

Please launch a more rigorous investigation into the many nightclubs that may be guilty of similar apparent violations. If any of these entities are found to be in breach of the law, enact an immediate license revocation and criminal referral. Safeguard your youngest citizens from exploitation and harm.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Enyobeni EC

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