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They danced until they died: Bheki Cele on Enyobeni tavern deaths

Residents and family members outside the tavern in Scenery Park where 21 people died in the early hours of Sunday morning in East London. Police minister Bheki Cele says the partygoers died between 2.13am and 4am.
Residents and family members outside the tavern in Scenery Park where 21 people died in the early hours of Sunday morning in East London. Police minister Bheki Cele says the partygoers died between 2.13am and 4am.
Image: Mark Andrews

“They were dancing and when they collapsed they were just pushed away from the dance floor and left to die.”

This is according to police minister Bheki Cele, speaking of the horrors which unravelled early on Sunday morning when 17 people died at a crowded tavern in Scenery Park in East London, with four others succumbing in hospital.

The cause of the deaths is still unclear but on Monday, during his speech at the Rural Safety Summit in Parys, Cele said the partygoers began dying from about 2.13am.

“Those kids started dying at 2.13am until 4am. They died as they danced. They danced and fell and died — literally. And they were pushed to the side and others kept dancing.

“Others felt dizzy and fell asleep on the sofa and died. Somebody should have done something. These kids are supposed to be under parental supervision,” he said.

Cele brought the matter up during the summit to illustrate the strain on police members who are being blamed by some for not preventing the deaths.

“A 13-year-old died. A 17-year-old. Nine girls died, 12 boys. And people ask, 'where were the police?' A 13-year-old dies at 4am and you are asking where are the police — really? Why was a 13-year-old out at 4am?”

On Sunday afternoon the minister broke down in tears outside the morgue where he had viewed the bodies. His pain was echoed in the cries of those mourning.

The cause of the deaths at the #Enyobeni tavern is part of an ongoing investigation.

TimesLIVE


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