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Portfolio committee calls for police to speed up Enyobeni deaths probe

Independent Online (IOL) logo Independent Online (IOL) 2022/07/20 Se-Anne Rall

East London – Police have been urged to accelerate the probe into what killed 21 children at a tavern in the Eastern Cape.

On Tuesday, the Eastern Cape Department of Health revealed that the teenagers had traces of methanol in their blood.

According to the department, blood test results to see if toxic levels of methanol had been ingested had not been released. The blood was tested for alcohol and carbon monoxide poisoning, but the levels were not high enough to cause death.

Nonhlanhla Ncube-Ndaba, chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities, said they want the SAPS to expedite the investigation into what killed the youngsters.

“Acceleration of the investigations and the disclosure of the real cause of the deaths of the 21 children in Enyobeni tavern will certainly translate into healing for the parents and relatives of the 21 children,” she said.

Dr Litha Matiwane, of the provincial Health Department, said methanol was a by-product of other chemicals.

Speaking at the media briefing on Tuesday, he said officials could not say whether the teenagers ingested the methanol or whether it was a by-product of something else they had ingested.

The teenagers, the youngest of whom was 13, died mysteriously in the early hours of June 26 at the Enyobeni tavern. Laboratory tests were conducted after initial investigations ruled out a stampede as a possible cause of death. Investigations continue.

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